In Article 66 of the Labour Law, the periods that are considered as working time in Turkey and therefore should be paid wages are listed. According to this
i. In mines, quarries or in any manner whatsoever, in underground or underwater work, the periods required for workers to descend or enter or exit wells, caverns or the main working places,
ii. In the event that the workers are sent by the employer to work in a place other than their workplaces, the time spent on the way,
iii. Periods of idle time spent by the worker at work and in a state of readiness to work at any time, but without being employed and waiting for the work to be done,
iv. Periods spent by the worker without performing his/her main job by being sent to another place by the employer or being occupied in the employer’s house or office or any place related to the employer,
v. Breastfeeding periods for workers who are breastfeeding children,
vi. The time spent during the transportation of workers to and from workplaces located at a distance from residential centres, such as the construction, protection or repair and modification of railways, highways and bridges, shall be counted as working time in Turkey. However, the time spent in the vehicles during the transportation of the workers to and from the workplace by the employer for social assistance purposes shall not be counted as working time.
vii. Apart from this general regulation, special regulations regarding the situations counted as working time are found in Articles 17, 13 and 25 of the Occupational Health and Safety Law. Article 17 regulates the principles of training employees on occupational health and safety, and the time spent in such trainings will be counted as working time in Turkey. Accordingly, employers are obliged to pay wages for these periods. On the other hand, although Articles 13 and 25 of the law do not contain clear statements in this context, the same conclusion can be reached through interpretation. According to the aforementioned Article 13, workers may refrain from working under the presence of a serious and imminent danger related to occupational health and safety in the workplace and until the relevant measures are taken, provided that other conditions are fulfilled.
In this case, the employer’s obligation to pay wages will continue. A similar arrangement is also in the case of work stoppage under Article 25. The employer’s obligation to pay wages will continue in this case as well. The fact that the Law foresees the payment of wages in cases where work is avoided or work is stopped, is an indication that it accepts these periods as worked periods. Another special regulation is found in Article 9 of the Regulation on Occupational Health and Safety Boards issued according to Articles 22 and 30 of the said law, which regulates the working procedures of occupational health and safety boards. According to subparagraph ç of the first paragraph of the article, the periods spent in the board meetings are counted among the working hours.
If these conditions are fulfilled and the employee worked 7.5 hours that day, he/she should be paid overtime wages for these overworked periods. In this case, it should be taken into consideration that the work does not exceed 45 hours at the weekend. In such incidental and temporary cases, the principle of equalisation may also be applied.
According to the aforementioned regulations, for example, in a mining workplace where 7.5 hours of work is performed per day, if it takes half an hour for the workers to go up and down to their main workplaces, they should be employed for 7 hours in the extraction work. Similarly, if the worker is sent by the employer for another job, or if the worker is busy at the employer’s house, office or any other place related to the employer, such as in his/her car, the worker will be counted as working time in Turkey. For example, a worker who works as a service personnel will be entitled to be paid for the time he/she spends on the road to reach the place where he/she will be served.