Minimum Working Conditions
The national minimum wage applies to all employees except the ones working in the coal and lignite mining sectors. In these sectors, the minimum wage must be at least twice the regular minimum wage determined by the commission. The gross minimum monthly wage in force until 1 July 2022 is TRY 5.500. The minimum wage is revised twice a year, and will increase in the year 2023; however, it has not been decided yet.
Article 32 of the Employment Law states that the employer shall pay the employees on a monthly basis, at the latest. The payment period can be reduced to a week under collective bargaining and employment agreements. Pursuant to Article 32 of the Employment Law, the payment shall be made in Turkish currency, in principle.
Additionally, in principle, payments under employment agreements are required to be made in Turkish Lira as per Decree Number 32 on Protection of Value of Turkish Currency. However foreign currency payments can be determined with regard to following exemptions:
- Employment agreements entered into regarding non-Turkish citizens residing in Turkey.
- Employment and service agreements entered into by:
- Branches, representation offices, offices, or liaison offices in Turkey for persons residing outside Turkey.
- Companies held by persons residing outside Turkey with at least 50% direct or indirect shareholding.
- Companies located in free zones within the scope of their activities in the free zone.
Maximum Working Week
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. As per Article 63 of the Employment Law, weekly working hours can be distributed to the working days in a week by the mutual agreement of the parties, provided that a maximum of 11 hours per working day is not exceeded. In this manner, the weekly average working time of the employee within a period of two months, cannot exceed the regular weekly working time. The reference period can be increased up to four months under collective bargaining agreements. Provided that the average working hours of the employee do not exceed regular weekly working hours, even though it may exceed a total of 45 hours during some weeks, it is not considered to be overtime, if the two-month reference applies in accordance with Article 63.
Extra wages for each overtime hour shall be paid as 50% more than the regular working hour salary. However, if the weekly working hours are determined to be less than 45 hours in the employment agreement, working hours which exceed the applied average time within the abovementioned conditions and up to 45 hours, are considered to be overtime work. Extra wages for each overtime work hour shall be paid as 25% more than the regular working hour salary.
Employees who do overtime, are entitled to take a free time of 1,5 hours for each hour of their overtime, instead of receiving increased wages as explained above. The employees should use this free time during their working hours within a six-month period and without any deductions from their salary.
The written consent of the employees must be obtained through the employment agreement or through an additional written document, if they are asked to do overtime. In accordance with Article 102/c of the Employment Law, employers may be subject to an administrative fine for each employee, in case of the absence of the employee’s approval for overtime work. The administrative fine is revised each year.
Regarding white-collar employees, it can be agreed under an employment agreement that the wages for overtime of up to 270 hours in one year is included in the employee’s salary. For any hour exceeding this limit, the employer is obliged to make overtime payment to the employee. If the employer does not pay the employee’s wage for the exceeding hours, there is the risk that the employee may terminate his/her employment agreement and claim compensation from the employer for exceeding hours within five years starting from the relevant overtime work, as well as severance payment.
Per Article 102 of the Employment Law, the employer shall be fined an administrative fine of TRY 755,00 as of 2022 for each employee who has not been paid overtime, who has not been granted the free time he/she deserved within six months, and who has worked extra hours without his/her approval.
If the employer does not pay the employee’s wage for the exceeding hours, there is the risk that the employee may claim compensation from the employer for exceeding hours within five years starting from the relevant overtime work. The important point is to prove that the employee’s overtime wage is paid by the employer. The employer will prove this through the payrolls of the employee. However, if the overtime wage is not included in the payroll, the employee can claim that he/she did not receive this wage, based on the statement of the witness. These are established by the established Supreme Court’s precedent judgements.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
The health and safety related obligations of the employers are regulated under the Occupational Health and Safety Law. The Occupational Health and Safety Law requires occupational health and safety services to be provided by appropriately qualified individuals.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Law, some of the general responsibilities of the employers are as follows:
- Working to avoid occupational hazards,
- Informing and training employees about the risks and occupational health and safety issues which exist in their workplace in particular,
- Providing employees with the necessary tools and equipment,
- Adopting health and safety measures to meet changing workplace conditions,
- Monitoring whether employees abide by occupational health and safety measures,
- Ensuring the suitability of an employee in terms of health and safety before assigning them to a particular task or duty,
- Employ on-site doctor and occupational safety specialist at the workplace under the Occupational Health and Safety Law (applicable for entities having less than 50 employees as of 1 July 2020).
In addition to the general requirements above, some further measures may be required from the employers depending on the hazard class of the respective workplace.
- Administrative Fines: Administrative fines vary according to the nature of the violation and the hazard class of the workplace. Also, if the violation continues, these administrative fines continue to be applied every month. Administrative fines applied as of 2022 are listed below as an example.
- Not taking precautions regarding occupational health and safety, not organizing, not providing the necessary tools an equipment, not providing health and safety measures to changing conditions and not employing employees to improve the current situation: Between TRY 6.966 – 20.898
- Not assigning an occupational safety specialist: Between TRY 17.439 – 52.317
- Not assigning a workplace doctor: Between TRY 17.439 – 52.317
- Private Litigation: A lawsuit may be filed against the employer, demanding material and immaterial compensation, by the employee or their relatives who have suffered bodily harm.
- Criminal Proceedings: An employee who has suffered bodily harm can complain about the employer to the prosecutor. In this case, the investigation process related to the incident begins. In accordance with the provisions of the Turkish Penal Code Act No 5237, a penalty may be imposed on the responsible persons.
Protection from Retaliation
In order not to face the administrative, legal, and penal responsibilities described above, the rules set out in Occupational Health and Safety Law Act No 6331 and the Occupational Health and Safety Services Regulation must be followed.
Changes To The Employment Conditions
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. There are many types of changes to be made and each change must be separately determined whether or not it constitutes a material change, depending on the situation. However, some of the main types of material changes are as follows: payment, nature of the work, workplace, and working hours. 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. Otherwise, employees will be deemed to have not accepted such alterations. If an employee does not provide his/her written approval regarding the changes, or clearly does not accept such changes, the altered conditions cannot be applied on the relevant employee.