Salary, social security contributions, paid annual leave, paid sick leave, general health insurance contribution, weekends, public holidays, official holiday salaries, overtime payments, maternity leave or paternity leave pays are main mandatory benefits. The employer may also provide employees some additional voluntary benefits.
Under the social security laws, each employee is insured from the date of employment. The employer must inform the Social Security Institution about each employee that works in the workplace. The employer is also legally under the obligation to pay social security contributions to the Social Security Institution.
Healthcare and Insurances
Employees covered by the Social Security Institution receive free examination and treatment at state hospitals.
The employer deposits a certain amount each month to the Social Insurance Institution so that the employee can retire and benefit from health services. This amount is determined according to the gross wage of the worker and must be paid regularly by the employer.
As of 1 January 2017, public and private sector employees under the age of 45 and, upon request, persons over the age of 45 are automatically included in the private pension plan by their employers, regardless of whether they have existing private pension contracts.
1. Rest Breaks
While the duration varies depending on the worked hours, each employee is entitled to a rest break. According to the Article 68 of the Employment Law, the length of the rest breaks is calculated in accordance with the length of work. The resting break periods are as follows:
- Up to four hours: 15 minutes of break.
- Up to 7.5 hours (including 7.5 hours): 30 minutes of break.
- More than 7.5 hours: one hour of break
According to Article 104 of the Employment Law, the employer, who does not apply the interim rest in accordance with the provisions of the Law, shall be fined with an administrative fine of TRY 4.173 for 2022.
2. Weekend Break
Having worked for 45 hours per week, each employee becomes entitled to a continuous 24-hour weekend break. Employers are not allowed to make a deduction from the employees’ salaries for this weekend break. – For this day off, employees are paid a wage equal to the daily wage by the employer. Even though the break is named as “weekend break” the parties of an employment agreement can determine any day as a weekend, on the condition that the break is at lear 24 hours.
3. Holidays and Annual Leave
National holidays in Turkey are:
- New Year’s Day (1 January)
- National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (23 April)
- Labor Day (1 May)
- Youth and Sports Day (19 May)
- Victory Day (30 August)
- Republic Day (afternoon of the 28 October and 29 October)
- Democracy and National Unity Day (15 July)
- Feast of Ramadan (3.5 days) and
- Feast of Sacrifice (4.5 days)
The minimum paid annual leave entitlements do not include national holidays. In other words, the employees benefit from national holidays, in addition to their annual leave entitlements.
In principle, employees do not have to work on national holidays and they receive full wages on such holidays. However, if employees do work on national holidays, they will be entitled to receive additional payments for each day.
Whether employees will work on public holidays or not is determined by the employment contract. Unless there is a clause in the contract, the employee’s consent is required for working on public holidays.
4. Annual Paid Leave
According to Article 53 of the Employment Law, after working for at least one year, employees become entitled to paid annual leave. Depending on the length of employment, the length of the paid annual leave varies. The Employment Law states the minimum holiday entitlements for employees as follows:
- One to five years of employment (including the fifth year): 14 days per year.
- More than five years to 15 years of employment: 20 days per year.
- More than 15 years of employment: 26 days per year.
Employees under the age of 18 or above the age of 50 are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of annual leave.
These holiday entitlements can be extended through employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements, however their durations cannot be decreased.
To be granted paid annual leave, the required working period of one year includes the probationary period, as well.
Maternity / Paternity Leave
b.1.) Maternity Leave: Maternity rights are determined under the Article 74 of the Employment Law. According to this article, pregnant employees can take fully paid leave for:
- Eight weeks before birth
- Eight weeks after birth
Pregnant employees and their spouses will be entitled to nursing benefits under certain conditions.
b.2.) Paternity Leave: 5 days, in the event of employee’s spouse gives birth.
In case of injury or illness, employees become entitled to time off for sick leave. By documenting their illnesses or injuries with a medical report, employees will be entitled to time off during the period of rest recommended in the report. However, on condition that the employee’s illness or injury exceeds the valid notice period mentioned in the report by six weeks, this will give the employer the right to terminate the employment agreement with immediate effect by paying the employee’s severance payment on the grounds that the employee’s sickness cannot be cured.
If the employee becomes disabled, the employer has the right to terminate the employee’s employment contract with just cause, if the absence due to this reason lasts more than 3 working days in a row or 5 working days in a month.
- Any Other Required or Typically Provided Leave(s)
In accordance with the Employment Law, other types of leaves are as follows;
- Marriage Leave: 3 days, in the event of employee’s marriage,
- Bereavement Leave: 3 days, in the event of death of the employee’s mother, father, spouse, brother or sister, and child,
- Adoption Leave: 3 days, in the event of employee’s adoption of a child,
- Disabled child leave: up to 10 days in a year to escort the treatment of a child in case employed parents have a child with at least 70% disability or chronic disease approved by medical report. However; only one of the parents can take this leave, and there can neither be any interruption to the leave nor can it be used in segments.
Pensions: Mandatory and Typically Provided
Mandatory Pension Schemes
All employers are legally obliged to register their employees under their payrolls and within the registries of the Social Security Institution. Each month, a premium of “old age insurance” is cut from the salary of the employee, and paid as a contribution to the Social Security Institution. When the retirement age arrives and the employee becomes eligible to retire by meeting all the conditions, the employee will also be entitled to recieve a retirement pension from the government.
Private Pension Schemes
With the legal regulation that entered into force on 01.01.2017, employees automatically participate in the Private Pension Scheme (the “PPS”) through their employers. As of 01.01.2019, workplaces with 5 or more employees are required to include their employees in the “PPS”. With this practice, public and private sector employees under the age of 45 (and also upon request, persons over the age of 45) are automatically included in theprivate pension scheme by their employers, regardless of whether they have an existing individual retirement contract. 3% of the gross wage written on the payroll of the employees is taken as a contribution. Thus, employers are obliged to register their employees with the “PPS” and pay the compulsory contribution directly to the company holding the “PPS”, deducting the mandatory contribution from their wages. However, if employees do not want to be involved in a private pension scheme, they can apply to their employers to opt out within 2 months after joining the scheme.
Any Other Required or Typically Provided Benefits
a) Excused Leave: An excused leave is a leave taken by the employee regarding any matter related to his/her personal life.
b) Administrative Leave: Administrative leave means that the working day is declared a holiday as a result of the President’s decision. However, administrative leave is a type of leave that only covers civil servants.
c) Fringe Benefits: Some employers provide their workers some fringe benefits such as a meal at the company, private health insurance, a company car, a company phone, a laptop etc. However, these fringe benefits are not mandatory for the employer to provide. It is worth to mention that if an employer is to provide fringe benefits, they must be provided equally to all employees unless there is an objectively valid reason. Otherwise, employees may terminate their employment agreements based on a just cause, claim severance payment and compensation for unequal treatment.