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Turkish employment law

First of all, it should be noted that Turkish Employment Law has a very wide framework. In this sense, it can be said that it has some special resources that are not found in other legal disciplines and the hierarchy among the resources has some different characteristics. In fact, in Turkish Law, social and economic rights related to working life and labor law are primarily regulated by the Constitution of the Turkish Republic (the “Constitution”). Moreover, the rules of the Constitution concerning employment law do not only consist of social and economic rights. Provisions regarding individual rights and freedoms (such as principle of equality, personal immunity, prohibition of drudgery, protection of private life, freedom of communication, freedom of thought and opinion) are also related to working life.

In addition to this, the rules regarding the employee-employer relationship are regulated both in the Turkish Code of Obligations numbered 6098 (“Turkish Code of Obligations”) and the Employment Law numbered 4857 (“Employment Law”). The primary and simplest reason for the regulation of the aforementioned rules in the Turkish Code of Obligations, as well as the Employment Law, is that the relationship between the employee and the employer regulates a debtor-creditor relationship. Apart from these, other basic regulations regarding employment law are regulated by other laws such as Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements Act numbered 6356, Occupational Health and Safety Law Act numbered 6331, and the Labor Courts Law Act numbered 7036. Practical measures for implementation are possessed through regulations, legislations, notices, and Presidential Decrees. On the other hand, while Judicial opinions and international agreements are also among the main sources of employment law, employment agreements, internal regulations, and workplace practices can be named as private sources.


Key Points

  • In Turkish Law, it is obligatory to apply to a mediator before filing a lawsuit concerning employee and employer disputes. Mediation is a legal remedy that must be completed as a pre-condition. If the parties cannot reach an agreement during mediation proceedings, then they will have the right to file a lawsuit.
  • The working conditions arising out of the employment agreement, internal regulations, or workplace practices, may be changed only if the employees are notified in written form before the change. Employees of the company should be notified in writing and asked to respond within 6 business days, whether or not they object to the changes. If an employee rejects the changes or does not provide a written approval, such change cannot be applied to the related employee.
  • Parties to the employment agreement may agree upon a trial period in order to evaluate each other. However, trial periods cannot be longer than two months as per Article 15 of theEmployment Law. On the other hand, trial period can be increased up to four months concerning collective labour agreements.
  • As per Article 41 of the Employment Law, overtime is defined as the time which exceeds 45 hours per week, under the circumstances stipulated under the law. However, concerning white-collar employees, it can be agreed under the employment agreement that the wages for overtime of up to 270 hours in one year are included in the employee’s salary. In other words, the employee would not be entitled to any overtime payment concerning overtime works which do not exceed the annual 270-hour limit. For any hour exceeding this limit, the employer is obliged to make overtime payments to the employee.
  • In order not to face the administrative, legal, and penal responsibilities, the rules set out in Occupational Health and Safety Law Act numbered 6331 and the Occupational Health and Safety Services Regulation must be followed. 

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