Employees’ rights are fundamental for ensuring fair and equitable treatment in the workplace. Turkey, a transcontinental country bridging Europe and Asia, has made significant progress in safeguarding workers’ rights. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of employees’ rights in Turkey, encompassing key aspects such as employment contracts, working hours, annual leave, wages, termination, and social security.
- Employment Contracts
In Turkey, employment contracts can be either written or verbal, but it is strongly advised to have a written contract to avoid potential disputes. The contract should include essential information such as job title, working hours, salary, and benefits. Additionally, probationary periods are common, lasting up to two months for indefinite-term contracts.
- Working Hours
The standard working hours in Turkey are set at 45 hours per week, which includes a maximum of 9 hours per day. However, employees in certain sectors, such as health, transportation, and tourism, may be subject to different regulations due to the nature of their work. Overtime work is limited to 270 hours per year, and employees must receive additional pay for overtime hours.
- Annual Leave
Employees in Turkey are entitled to paid annual leave based on their length of service. The minimum annual leave entitlement is 14 days for employees who have worked for less than five years. This increases to 20 days for employees with five to fifteen years of service and 26 days for employees with fifteen or more years of service. Employers must grant annual leave in accordance with the employee’s preference, taking into account operational requirements.
The minimum wage in Turkey is determined by the government and varies based on geographical regions and age groups. It is revised annually to ensure fair compensation for employees. As of September 2021, the gross monthly minimum wage was 3,577 Turkish liras. Employers are obligated to pay wages on time and in full, and deductions can only be made in specific circumstances, such as taxes and social security contributions.
Termination of employment can occur through various means, including resignation, retirement, or termination by the employer. In Turkey, both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate the employment contract, provided that certain legal requirements are met. Notice periods vary based on the length of service and are typically between two weeks and eight weeks. Employees may be entitled to severance pay if their employment is terminated without just cause.
- Social Security
Turkey has a comprehensive social security system that covers various aspects, including healthcare, retirement, and unemployment. Employees and employers are required to contribute to the social security fund through monthly deductions from wages. The Social Security Institution (SGK) administers these contributions and provides benefits to eligible individuals, ensuring social protection and healthcare coverage.
- Occupational Health and Safety
Ensuring a safe and healthy work environment is a vital aspect of employees’ rights. In Turkey, the Occupational Health and Safety Law outlines employers’ responsibilities to provide a safe workplace, conduct risk assessments, and implement preventive measures. Employees have the right to refuse work if they believe there is an imminent danger to their health and safety.
Turkey has made significant strides in protecting employees’ rights, providing a robust framework to ensure fair treatment, decent working conditions, and social security benefits. However, it is crucial for employees to be aware of their rights and employers to fulfill their obligations. By understanding and upholding these rights, Turkey can continue to foster a harmonious and productive work environment that benefits both employees and employers alike.