Employment 2019 in Turkey

1. Is an employment contract required to be in writing?

In principal, an employment contract is not subject to any form requirements unless otherwise specified in law. Written form is mandatory for fixed-term employment contracts. However, if the contract is not to be concluded in writing, then it is necessary to provide the employee with a written document, within two months at the latest, showing the general and special conditions of work, the daily or weekly working time, the basic salary and any salary supplements, the time intervals for remuneration, the duration if it is a fixed-term contract and conditions concerning the termination of the contract.

2. What is the weekly working time?

The maximum weekly working time is 45 hours. Unless otherwise agreed, this period is divided equally between the working days of the workplace.

3. How the payments for overtime work are calculated?

Hours exceeding the limit of 45 hours per week are overtime hours. The payment to be made for each hour of the overtime work is paid by increasing the amount of salary per hour by 50%.

For the employees whose weekly working hours are designated less than 45 hours a week, the payment to be made for each hour of the overtime work up to 45 hours is paid by increasing the amount of regular salary per hour by 25%.

4. How long the minimum rest breaks should be?

The minimum duration of the rest breaks are regulated according to the total working hours.

Duration Of Work Minimum Duration of the Rest Breaks To Be Taken
4 hours or shorter 15 minutes
Between 4 and 7.5 hours 30 minutes
Longer than 7.5 hours 1 hour

These periods can be increased by the employer with the employment contract.

5. What is the duration of annual leave?

Unless otherwise in agreed under the employment contract, an employee must have been working in a workplace or different workplaces belonging to the same employer for at least 1 year in order to be entitled for annual paid leave.

Period of Employment Annual Paid Leave Period
1 to 5 years (including 5 years) 14 days
5 to 15 years 20 days
15 years and over 26 days

The length of annual paid leave to be granted to the employees aged 18 or younger and 50 and older cannot be less than 20 days.

6. How long is the statute of limitations for the employment claims?

In principle statute of limitations for the employment claims is 5 years.

7. Which courts have jurisdiction on the disputes arising out of labor law and are there appeal and cassation phases?

Disputes related to labor law and social security law are resolved by labor courts. However, if there is no separate labor court in the place where the action would be initiated, Civil Courts of First Instance resolve the disputes with the capacity of Labor Courts.

It is possible to appeal against the decisions given by the labor courts. Decisions rendered by the labor courts can be subject to examination before Regional Appellate Courts within two weeks as of the notification of the court’s decision.

However, decisions related to a monetary value exceeding TRY 4.400 are final and cannot be subject to appeal. On the other hand, decisions related to personal rights matters or without a monetary value such as re-instatement actions are subject to appeal without any limitation.

Decisions given by Regional Appellate Courts related to non-monetary disputes and decisions rendered for the disputes amounting more than TRY 58.800can be subject to examination before the Supreme Court within two weeks as from the notification date of the regional appellate court’s decision. However, decisions regarding the re-instatement cases cannot be appealed; after the decision of the first instance labor courts, the parties can only apply to regional court of appeal.

8. Is it mandatory to apply for mediation before initiating an action in disputes arising from labor law?

In Labor Courts Act, applying for mediation is regulated as a cause of action; therefore, for the lawsuits filed for employee-employer claims, compensations and re-instatement, parties shall apply for mediation before initiating an action.

However, mandatory mediation does not apply to the actions for pecuniary or non-pecuniary damages arising from work accidents or occupational diseases and recourse actions related to these.

9. Is it possible to resolve disputes arising from labor law through arbitration?

In principle it is not possible. However, if the parties agree upon after termination of the contract, it is possible to bring the re-instatement actions only before an ad hoc arbitrator.

10. Is it possible to choose the applicable law for the disputes arising from labor law?

As per the Turkish International Private and Procedural Law, employment contracts are subject to the law chosen by parties, provided that the minimum level of protection assured by the mandatory provisions of the habitual work place law are reserved. Therefore, the parties may chose the law to be applied to the employment contract if there exist is an element of foreignness.

11. How should the notice of termination be made?

The notice of termination must be clear and in writing and shall contain the reason of termination and made in writing. However, it is not necessary to rely on a valid reason in termination of employment contract of an employee who is not entitled the protection provided by the “job protection provisions”.

12. Should the employee’s defence be taken before the termination?

If the employment contract of an employee who is protected under the “job protection provisions” is terminated for a reason related to his/her behavior or performance, his/her written defence should be taken before the termination.

First published by Gün + Partners,