Principally, in accordance with Article 8 of the Employment Law, there is no special requirement for an employment agreement unless otherwise specified. The employee and the employer may agree upon terms and conditions of the work either verbally or in written form.
On the other hand, if the duration of the employment agreement has been determined as one year or longer, the contract will then have to be in written form. Additionally, Article 11 of the Employment Law states that all “definite term employment agreements” must be in written form, regardless of their duration.
Furthermore, Law on Compulsory Use of Turkish states that all employment agreements must be made in Turkish language if they are executed by and between Turkish citizens and companies incorporated under Turkish law. Therefore, written employment agreements should be drafted either solely in Turkish or as dual column. For dual column agreements, the Turkish version must prevail in case of any inconsistencies with translated versions.
In addition to the above, as per Article 5 of the Employment Law, employers are obligated to treat their employees equally, regardless of the agreement type or the duration of employment agreements. However, an employer may treat employees differently if there is a valid reason, such as seniority, qualification or the natüre of the job. If the employer violates this obligation and treats employees unequally without a valid reason, employees may terminate their employment agreements and claim compensation.
Fixed-term agreement is an agreement between an employee and an employer, where parties mutually agree upon a certain expiration time. To enter into a fixed-term employment agreement, the practical conditions of the work must be suitable as per Article 11 of the Employment Law and the agreement must be in written form. Otherwise, the agreement will be considered as an indefinite-term employment agreement, even if parties decide upon a certain period of time. To specify, fixed-term employment agreements can be executed (i) if the work subject to the agreement has a definite term (ii) if the work requires the completion of a definite task (such as a project) or (iii) if the work is in connection with the emergence of a cause.
Indefinite-term employment agreement can be regarded as the most commonly used, while the fixed-term employment agreement as an exception, since the former provides better protection for employees. Furthermore, fixed-term employment agreements cannot be renewed without a valid reason. If parties renew it without objective reasons justifying the renewal; the agreement will be deemed as an indefinite-term employment agreement from the very beginning.
It is possible for the parties to enter into an employment agreement for part-time jobs. Article 13 of the Employment Law states that if the employee’s weekly working hours are significantly lower than the exemplary full-time employee, the employment agreement will be regarded as a part-time employment agreement. It has been determined within Article 6 of the Working Hours By-Law that working up to 2/3 of an exemplary full-time job will be deemed as part-time.
Parties to the employment agreement may agree upon a trial period in order to evaluate each other. The employer may want to inspect the employee’s manner of work, while the employee may want to evaluate the workplace and conditions. A great majority of employment agreements in Turkey include such provisions even though it is not mandatory.
Trial periods cannot be longer than 2 months as per Article 15 of the Employment Law. In case parties decide upon a longer trial period, such provision shall be deemed partially invalid and the period will be executed as 2 months for individual employment agreements. However, for collective employment agreements, this period can be extended up to 4 months.
Within such trial period, parties may terminate the agreement without any obligations or granting any notice period. However, employers will still be obliged to pay employees’ wages for the days they worked and overtimes, if any.
According to Article 17 of the Employment Law, both the employer and the employee can terminate the employment agreement, which has been signed for indefinite period through a notice. The terminating party must comply with the termination procedure explained in Article 17 of theEmployment Law.
Firstly, the terminating party must send the termination notice to the other party. The notice must be definite and clear. It must be understood from the notice of termination that the employment relationship will expire. In addition, conditional notice of termination is deemed as invalid by the Supreme Court.
While terminating the employment agreement by notice, the employer and the employee shall comply with the statutory termination periods which have been stated in Article 17 of the Employment Laww. The statutory notice periods are as follows:
- With regard to an employee whose employment period is less than 6 months – 2 weeks
- With regard to an employee whose employment period is between 6 months and 1,5 years – 4 weeks
- With regard to an employee whose employment period is between 1,5 and 3 years – 6 weeks
- With regard to an employee whose employment period is more than 3 years – 8 weeks.
These periods might be decided longer in individual employment agreements or collective labor agreements.
The process of the termination notice period starts from the moment that the declaration of will regarding the termination reaches the other party. The employment period starts from the first day of the work and ends when the declaration of will regarding the termination reaches the other party.