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June 29, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions About Labor Law

Employment Law
Reading Time: 15 minutes

PART I- APPROACHES TO EMPLOYMENT IN TERMS OF INDIVIDUAL LABOR LAW IN TURKEY

Table of Contents

1. What is the most common approach(s) to the employment of staff in this industry and jurisdiction? For example, Is it permanent employees, freelancers, agency staff, volunteers, short term contractors etc)? Are there any particular employment law issues in this jurisdiction for this most common form(s) of employment?

First of all, those listed in Article 4 of the Labor Law No. 4857 (“LL”) and within the scope of the exception;

  1. In sea and air transportation works,
  2. In workplaces or enterprises where agricultural and forestry works are carried out with less than 50 workers (including 50),
  3. In all kinds of construction works related to agriculture within the borders of the family economy,
  4. Among the members of a family and their relatives up to the 3rd degree (including the 3rd degree) in houses and in the works where handicrafts are made, with no outside participation,
  5. to in home services,
  6. About the apprentices,
  7. About the athletes,
  8. About the rehabilitated,
  9. In workplaces where three people work in accordance with the definition of Article 2 of the Law No. 507 on Tradesmen and Craftsmen,

similar provisions apply to all workers excluding employees, and all questions within the scope of this study will be answered in terms of all sectors except for these exceptions.

In Turkish Labor Law, there are those who work for an employer as well as those who have tax openings on their behalf and who work on their own behalf and account. In all forms of work, insurance notification and related taxes must be paid, and in practice, these issues are the most problematic and criminal sanctions are imposed against individuals.

In the 1st paragraph of Article 8 of the LL, it is clear that “An employment contract is a contract in which one party (employee) undertakes to work as dependent and the other party (employer) undertakes to pay wages.” It has been regulated that in order to define the aforementioned relationship as an employment relationship, the employee must be paid and the employee will be dependent on the employer in return for this. Since there will be no dependency factor and no obligation to pay wages in voluntary work, it is not accepted in the context of employee-employer relationship in our country and this type of work is not regulated in the legislation. One of the biggest problems in this regard is that the person who carries out voluntary work cannot benefit from the provisions of social security as a result of an accident while carrying out this work.

In addition, there is a risk of administrative fines against the employer if the insurance notification of the voluntary employee is not made and the premiums are not paid. In a decision of the Supreme Court on this issue; In the event that a person does not work in any other job, he finds the work that he does only on a voluntary and unpaid basis, contrary to the ordinary flow of life, and evaluated it within the scope of the employee-employer relationship. Therefore, in our law, there is a tendency to work on a paid basis depending on an employment contract.

2. If freelancers are frequently used in this country – what criteria is used in this jurisdiction to decide if a staff member is truly self-employed or actually an employee? What is the impact of these classifications on employment rights?

In our legal system, individuals who carry out activities on their own behalf and account without being dependent on an employer are considered self-employed and these people are also considered insured in terms of Social Security Legislation. Although the status of these people is different from the workers, there is also an obligation to pay premiums and taxes, with an insurance statement for self-employed. In addition, since these people will not be in the status of workers, they will not be able to benefit from special rights for workers.

3. Are employees in this country and jurisdiction generally given accommodation? Are there any particular health and safety issues which may apply to the most common types of employee accommodation in this country?

In our legal system, there is freedom to conclude a contract between the employee and the employer, and in accordance with this freedom, the parties can freely determine the content of the contract. Therefore, although the employer does not have to pay for the accommodation of the workers, the parties can include it in the employment contract. Occupational health and safety measures must be taken in accordance with employment contracts with accommodation, which are very common in the construction and tourism sector. Administrative fines may be issued against the employer due to failure to take these measures and/or practices contrary to the legislation.

4. Are staff in this country and jurisdiction required to be registered with a particular regulator or professional body before they are allowed to work in this country in this jurisdiction? What is the main legislation or regulation governing this area?

In Turkish Labor Law, for each sector, if there is a prerequisite/registration to the room/document/certificate required by the legislation for that worker to be able to do his duty, a document proving this situation must be attached to the annex of the employment contract. For instance;

  • According to the Residential Concierges Regulation, the employer is obliged to investigate the existence of a stoker certificate for the concierge in houses with central heating and to hire the one who has the certificate.
  • According to the Regulation on Duties, Authorities, Responsibilities and Training of Occupational Safety Experts; Among the occupational safety specialists, those with (C) class certificate can work in the less dangerous class, those with (B) class certificate can work in less dangerous and dangerous classes, and those with (A) class certificate can work in workplaces in all hazard classes. Therefore, the workers to be assigned as occupational safety experts by the employer must have a valid occupational safety expertise certificate.
  • Again, it is a legal obligation for people who will work in professions that require expertise such as lawyers, doctors, architects and engineers to be registered with the relevant professional chambers.

5. Are staff in this country and jurisdiction required to follow any particular ethical rules, regulation or legislation?

In our legal system, for workers who are not subject to LL, in addition to the main legislation such as the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098, the Maritime Labor Law No. 854 and the Press Labor Law No. 5953, there are secondary regulations specific to each sector (Regulation, Communiqué, Circular, etc.). as well as decisions that set a precedent for the decision to be made in the upcoming trials. In addition to these legal regulations, if there are workplace practices and workplace internal regulations that are not regulated by law but have become workplace conditions, the worker must also comply with these regulations.

6. Are there any specific requirements on the proportions of employed nationals which apply in this country?

Since the employment of the citizens of the Republic of Turkey is a priority in our law, if foreign personnel are to be employed in a workplace, 5 (five) Turkish citizens must be employed for each foreign personnel. This issue is a mandatory regulation applied for all sectors throughout the country, and there are other legal obligations apart from this rate.

In addition, some professions can only be performed by Turkish citizens:

  • Dentistry, dentistry, nursing,
  • Pharmacy,
  • Veterinary,
  • Responsible director in private hospitals,
  • Advocacy,
  • Notary public
  • Private security officer,
  • Exporting fish, oysters, mussels, sponges, pearls, corals, diving, foraging, piloting, captaincy, engineering, clerk, crew, etc. within the territorial waters.
  • Customs brokerage,
  • Tourist guidance.

PART II- WORKING CONDITIONS IN TERMS OF INDIVIDUAL LABOR LAW IN TURKEY

1. Is Part-time work common in this country? If so, what are the main legal requirements?

Part-time (part-time) work is very common in Turkish Labor Law and is regulated in the legislation with all its conditions. According to this; If the normal weekly working time of the worker is determined to be significantly less than the equivalent worker working with a full-time employment contract, the contract is a part-time employment contract. In accordance with the legislation, a person can work full time for a maximum of 45 hours a week with exceptions, so it is essential that the weekly working time is at most 30 hours in order for a work to be considered part-time work.

The wage of the part-time worker will be paid in proportion to the time worked compared to the full-time equivalent worker and will not be subjected to any different treatment compared to the full-time worker.

2. Are there specific laws or regulations which may impact working time in this country?

As a rule, in our legal system, the working time is a maximum of 45 (forty-five) hours per week. Unless otherwise agreed, this period is applied by dividing it equally into the working days of the week in workplaces. With the agreement of the parties, the normal weekly working time may be distributed differently to the working days of the week in workplaces, provided that it does not exceed 11 (eleven) hours per day. However, considering the health of the worker, it is an imperative provision on the legal ground that the daily working time cannot exceed 11 (eleven) hours in any way.

Working hours of workers working in underground mine works; a maximum of 7.5 (seven and a half) hours a day, a maximum of 37.5 (thirty-seven and a half) hours per week.

According to Article 66 of the Labor Law No. 4857 (“LL”); The following periods are counted from the daily working hours of the worker as if he were actually working, even if no actual work is done:

  1. The time required for workers to enter or exit wells, tunnels or main working places in mines, quarries or whatever works to be performed underground or under water.
  2. The time spent on the road when the workers are sent by the employer to be employed in a place other than their workplace.
  3. The periods spent by the worker in his job and ready to work at any time, but without being employed and waiting for the job to be released.
  4. The periods spent by the employee without performing his/her main job by being sent to another place by the employer or being busy at the employer’s home or office or any place related to the employer.
  5. The periods to be specified for breastfeeding female workers to give milk to their children.
  6. The time taken during the collective and regular transportation of the workers in all kinds of works that need to be brought to and from the workplaces located far from the settlements, such as the construction, protection or repair and modification of railways, highways and bridges.

The time spent in the vehicles while being brought to and from the workplace for social assistance purposes, which is not due to the nature of the job, is not counted as working time.

The night work of the workers cannot exceed 7.5 (seven and a half) hours. However, in the works where tourism, private security and health services are carried out, night work for more than 7.5 (seven and a half) hours can be made, provided that the written consent of the worker is obtained.

3. Are there any specific laws and requirements on health and safety employers should be aware of in this country?

Employers have primary responsibilities such as observing the health and safety of workers in whatever sector they operate in, risk assessment in the workplace, carrying out activities to prevent occupational risks and educating their workers on occupational health and safety. Violations of these procedures carry very serious criminal risks.

4. Are there any industry specific rules on the employment of young workers in this country?

As a rule, it is prohibited to employ children under the age of fifteen. However, children who have completed the age of fourteen and have completed the compulsory primary education; they can be employed in light jobs that will not prevent their physical, mental, social and moral development and the attendance of those who continue their education to school. Children who have not completed the age of fourteen can be employed in arts, culture and advertising activities that will not prevent their physical, mental, social and moral development and the attendance of those who continue their education to school, provided that they make a written contract and get a separate permission for each activity.

According to the Regulation on the Procedures and Principles of Employing Child and Young Workers;

Young worker: Is a person who has completed the age of 15 but has not completed the age of 18,

Child worker: Is a person who has completed the age of 14, has not completed the age of 15 and has completed primary education.

Safety, health, physical, mental and psychological developments, personal dispositions and abilities are taken into account in the placement of children and young workers and in the jobs where they can be employed. The work of the child cannot prevent him from going to school, continuing his vocational education, and cannot harm him to follow his lessons regularly.

Working hours of children who have completed compulsory primary education and do not continue formal education are seven times a day and thirty-five hours a week; those working in arts, culture and advertising activities cannot exceed five hours a day and thirty hours a week. This period can be increased to eight hours a day and forty hours a week for children who have completed the age of fifteen.

The working hours of the children attending school during the education period can be at most two hours a day and ten hours a week, out of the education hours. It is obligatory to take a break of thirty minutes for works lasting more than two hours and less than four hours, and one hour in the middle of the working time for works between four hours and seven and a half hours.

Weekly vacation leave of child and young workers cannot be less than forty continuous hours. In addition, the weekend wage is paid without the execution of actual work.

Child and young workers cannot be employed on national holidays and public holidays. In addition, wages regarding the relevant dates are paid without the execution of actual work.

The annual paid leave period to be given to child and young workers cannot be less than 20 days. It is essential that the annual paid leave be used uninterruptedly. However, in cases where it is beneficial, it can be used by dividing it into two, at the request of the child and young worker.

Annual paid leave is given to children and young workers who attend school or education during periods when schools are on vacation and courses and other education programs are not attended.

It is forbidden to employ men under the age of eighteen and women of all ages in underground or underwater works such as mines, cable laying, sewerage and tunnel construction.

It is forbidden to employ children and young workers under the age of eighteen in industrial works at night.

In addition, Child and Young workers cannot be employed by employers or employers’ representatives who are; (i) convicted of crimes against children, (ii) convicted of disgraceful crimes.

5. Are there any requirements for continuing professional development and training which could apply in this country?

As employers are obliged to ensure that their employees receive occupational health and safety training in accordance with the legislation, workers also must certify that they have the qualifications by receive training, certificates, etc., which are required by law to do their duty.

6. Are secondments common in this country? Are there any particular legal requirements in this country as a result?

In terms of Turkish Labor Law, it is possible for the employee to be temporarily assigned to another workplace, provided that the employee’s consent (approval) is obtained. Temporary employment relationship can be established (i) through a private employment office or (ii) within the body of the holding or (iii) by making an assignment to another workplace affiliated with the same group of companies.

Temporary employment relationship can be established in writing for a period not exceeding six months and can be renewed twice at the most, in order to perform the act of doing business within the body of the holding or at another workplace affiliated with the same group of companies, and the time limitation stipulated as a maximum of eighteen months, temporary work impression with the aim of preventing the permanent employment of workers. The employer, with whom a temporary employment relationship is established, is responsible, together with the transferor employer, for the unpaid wages of the worker, the debt of supervision of the worker and social insurance premiums.

On the other hand, there are more limited conditions in the temporary employment relationship established through a private employment agency, and its duration varies according to the situation giving rise to the temporary employment relationship. Temporary employment relationship through a private employment agency can be established in the following cases, when a private employment agency authorized by the Turkish Employment Agency, by making a temporary worker contract with an employer, temporarily transfers a worker to this employer;

  1. In some exceptional cases specified in the LL, in case of military service of the worker and in other cases where the employment contract is suspended,
  2. In seasonal agricultural works,
  3. In home services,
  4. In the works that are not considered as the daily work of the enterprise and are performed intermittently,
  5. In urgent works in terms of occupational health and safety or in case of compelling reasons that affect production significantly,
  6. In case of an unpredictable increase in the average production capacity of goods and services of the enterprise, which requires the establishment of a temporary business relationship,
  7. In case of seasonal job increases, excluding seasonal jobs.

7. Are there any laws or regulations which have an impact on the employment of women in this country?

In accordance with Article 10 of the Constitution, women and men have equal rights in our law. Moreover, in accordance with the principle of equality in the 5th article of LL, no discrimination based on gender will be made among the workers. However, there are some provisions in the labor law legislation that include positive discrimination for women. These provisions are outlined below:

  • Female employees cannot work for more than seven and a half hours in night shifts. However, in the works where tourism, private security and health services are carried out, and in the works carried out by the subcontractor operating in the workplaces where these works are carried out, night work for more than seven and a half hours can be made, provided that the written consent of the female employee is obtained.
  • In order for female employees to be employed in night shifts, a health report is obtained from the workplace doctor in charge of the workplace, stating that there is no harm in employing night shifts before starting work.
  • Female employees cannot be employed in night shifts for a period of one year, from the date they are determined by a doctor’s report to be pregnant, and until the delivery, and women employees who are breastfeeding, from the date of birth, without prejudice to the provisions of their own legislation.
  • It is forbidden for women of all ages to be employed in underground or underwater jobs such as mines and cable laying, sewerage and tunnel construction.
  • It is essential that female workers not be employed for a total of sixteen weeks, eight weeks before birth and eight weeks after birth. In case of multiple pregnancy, two weeks are added to the eight-week period of not working before delivery.

In addition to all these, while the employer is not obliged to pay severance pay to the worker when a worker leaves the job voluntarily without a just cause, it is obligatory to pay severance pay to the female worker who terminates the employment contract due to marriage within 1 year after the female worker gets married. Again, this is a positive regulation brought specifically to women workers.

PART III- WAGE IN TERMS OF INDIVIDUAL LABOR LAW IN TURKEY

1. How is salary generally paid in this country (e.g. piece rate, commission only, hourly, daily, weekly or monthly)? Are there any specific rules on minimum wage and frequency of salary payments which employers may need to be aware of?

Types of wages; the main (net) wage, wage supplements (bonus, premium, etc.) (grosswage), piece wages, and wages and gratuities according to the percentage method.

The wage calculation is made according to the result of the work done in the piece wage type. The wage calculated according to units such as size, number of pieces, weight or length is found as a result of multiplying the wage calculated for each unit for a certain working period by the total number of units. What matters in this type of wage is the result of the work done, not the time.

In workplaces such as hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues, the wage system applied in the form of a certain percentage of the money added to the bills of the customers as a certain percentage is collected by the employer and distributed at a certain rate according to the contributions of the workers, is calledpercentage wage“.

According to According to Article 51 of the Labor Law No. 4857 (“LL”); employers, by adding “percentage” to the bills of accounts of the customers in return for service or by other names, or by paying the money received in different ways, called tip, and left to the employer by the customer’s own request or collected under his control, to all workers in full, responsible for documenting its distribution.

Again, according to article 52; In workplaces where the percentage method is applied, the employer is obliged to give a document showing the grand total of each bill of account to a representative chosen by the workers from among themselves.

Sometimes, the employee and the employer may agree that the wages of the worker will consist only of tips given by third parties. Although the Supreme Court has approved this issue, if the total of the tips collected in one month is below one month’s amount of the legal minimum wage, the employer has to pay the difference.

2. In this country are there any common industry specific approaches the split between salary, bonuses and allowances)? Are there any legal or regulatory issues employers need to be aware of as a result?

Although the minimum wage application is valid for each sector, there is no restriction on wage amounts above the minimum wage. Although this is completely dependent on the agreement between the employee and the employer, in order to avoid any consequences against the employer in case of legal disputes that may occur in the future, the employee should be paid a wage proportional to his/her duty. Because, in order to determine the wages of the worker in legal proceedings, professional chambers and unions are written to ask about the wages of peer workers who perform the worker’s duty.

Benefits such as bonuses, premiums, meals and travel are the payments that affect the gross wage calculation and therefore the compensation to be paid to the worker, since they become a settled practice when they are constantly given by the employer.

3. Are tips common in this country? Are there any regulations or laws on how they must be handled?

Tipping is widely practiced in workplaces such as hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues in our country. However, we would like to emphasize that; Tipping is not legally required in our country. As explained in the answer to question 10, the employer is obliged to give the collected tips to the workers in full and to document this situation.

4. Can employers impose wage cuts in Turkish Labor Law? If so what are the rules about it?

If there is such a provision in the employment contract, a penalty of deduction may be applied to the employee due to the violation of the duty of performance and loyalty. Before this penalty is applied, the employee must be notified of the reasons, and the deduction cannot be more than two daily wages in a month or two days’ earnings per piece or in the wages given according to the amount of work done. In addition, according to paragraph 3 of Article 38 of the LL, it has also been determined how the deducted wages will be evaluated;

These deductions shall be credited within one month to the account of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in a bank established in Turkey and must be designated by the Ministry for use in the training of and social services for employees. Every employer must maintain a separate account in his establishment showing such deductions. A committee presided over by the Minister of Labour and Social Security and including employees’ representatives shall decide where and in what amounts the fines thus collected are to be used. Rules for the establishment and working methods of this committee shall be indicated in a regulation to be issued.”

It is also possible for the employer to face the risk of paying an administrative fine in accordance with Article 102/b of LL, in case the employer deducts wages unlawfully.

5. Are there any sanctions if the employer does not pay the employee’s wages on time?

A worker whose wage is not paid within twenty days from the day of payment pursuant to Article 34 of the LL, except for force majeure, may refrain from fulfilling his obligation to perform work, and even if this avoidance gains a numerical character, it cannot be qualified as a strike. In our law, the employment contracts of the workers cannot be terminated because they do not work for this reason, new workers cannot be replaced, these jobs cannot be made by others.

In addition to all these issues, the highest interest rate applied to the deposit is applied for the wages not paid by the employer to the employee on time.

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