sick leave turkey

Sick leave is a fundamental labor right that provides employees with the necessary time to recover from illnesses or injuries without compromising their job security. In Turkey, sick leave policies are designed to protect the health and well-being of workers while ensuring business continuity.

This article explores the current state of sick leave in Turkey, the legal framework governing sick leave entitlements, the benefits it offers to employees and employers, as well as potential challenges and areas for improvement.

Legal Framework for Sick Leave in Turkey

The legal framework for sick leave in Turkey is primarily governed by the Turkish Labor Law, which sets out the rules and regulations regarding the entitlement and duration of sick leave. According to the law, employees in Turkey are entitled to both paid and unpaid sick leave, depending on the nature of their illness and the duration of their absence.

a. Paid Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to paid sick leave if they present a valid medical report issued by a licensed healthcare professional. The duration of paid sick leave can vary depending on the severity of the illness and the length of service of the employee.

b. Unpaid Sick Leave

In cases where the paid sick leave entitlement is exhausted, employees can take unpaid sick leave to continue their recovery without losing their job. During unpaid sick leave, the employee’s job is protected, but they do not receive their regular salary.

Benefits of Sick Leave for Employees

Sick leave is a critical component of the labor rights system that promotes the well-being and health of employees. It allows workers to take the necessary time off to recover from illnesses or injuries, preventing the spread of contagious diseases in the workplace. This benefits both the individual employee and their colleagues, as it reduces the risk of absenteeism and maintains a healthier work environment.

Moreover, sick leave safeguards employees from financial hardship during periods of illness. By providing paid sick leave, employees can focus on their recovery without worrying about losing income, thus reducing stress and facilitating a quicker return to work.

Benefits of Sick Leave for Employers

While sick leave is primarily aimed at protecting employees, it also has benefits for employers and businesses. Firstly, by encouraging employees to take sick leave when needed, companies can prevent the spread of illnesses in the workplace, reducing the likelihood of large-scale absenteeism and low productivity due to sick workers.

Additionally, supporting sick leave ensures that employees return to work fully recovered and ready to perform at their best. This leads to higher employee morale, increased job satisfaction, and improved overall productivity in the long run.

Duration and Entitlements

The duration of sick leave entitlements in Turkey depends on the length of an employee’s service and the nature of their illness. Employees with more years of service generally have longer sick leave entitlements. The Turkish Labor Law outlines the following general sick leave entitlements:

a. Up to 1 year of service

2 months of paid sick leave and 2 months of unpaid sick leave.

b. 1 to 5 years of service

4 months of paid sick leave and 4 months of unpaid sick leave.

c. 5 to 15 years of service

6 months of paid sick leave and 6 months of unpaid sick leave.

d. Over 15 years of service

8 months of paid sick leave and 4 months of unpaid sick leave.

These entitlements can be extended for certain serious medical conditions, and employees may be required to submit additional medical reports to continue receiving paid sick leave.

Challenges and Areas for Improvement

Despite the efforts to protect employees’ health and well-being through sick leave provisions, some challenges persist in Turkey:

a. Insufficient Coverage

The current duration of paid sick leave might not be adequate for some severe medical conditions, leading to financial hardships for employees who need extended time off for recovery.

b. Job Security Concerns

Some employees might be hesitant to take sick leave due to concerns about job security, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises where absenteeism could impact business operations.

c. Administrative Burden

The process of obtaining and validating medical reports can be time-consuming and burdensome for both employees and healthcare providers.

Recommendations for Improvement

To enhance the effectiveness of sick leave policies in Turkey, the following recommendations can be considered:

a. Reviewing Sick Leave Entitlements

Reevaluating the duration of paid sick leave entitlements, particularly for long-term illnesses, could better support employees during their recovery period.

b. Promoting Awareness

Educating both employers and employees about sick leave rights and entitlements can dispel misconceptions and encourage the responsible use of sick leave when needed.

c. Streamlining Administrative Procedures

Simplifying the process of obtaining and validating medical reports can reduce the administrative burden on employees and healthcare providers.

d. Flexible Work Arrangements

Employers could consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or reduced hours, to employees recovering from illnesses, allowing them to ease back into work gradually.


Sick leave is a crucial aspect of ensuring the well-being of employees and the overall productivity of the workforce in Turkey. The current legal framework provides a foundation for supporting employees during periods of illness, but there is room for improvement. By addressing challenges and implementing targeted improvements, Turkey can foster a healthier and more resilient workforce, benefiting both employees and employers alike.



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