The regulated facets of employment in Turkey encompass employees, employers, compensation, employment agreements, and the workplace.
In the absence of contrary provisions in the contract or circumstances, employees are personally accountable for fulfilling their job duties, and no other individuals are authorized to perform their work on their behalf. Employees are required to exhibit the utmost care and diligence in their work and must adhere to and respect the legitimate instructions provided by their employer, as long as these directives align with the agreed-upon scope of work.
Employees are also bound by a duty of loyalty towards their employer, with the specific standard of this loyalty depending on the nature of the work. Generally speaking, this duty entails that employees should act in the best interests of their employer and refrain from any conduct that could financially, commercially, or professionally harm the employer. This loyalty duty also encompasses a commitment, during the tenure of employment in Turkey, not to engage in any actions that would compete with the employer’s business. It’s important to note that this non-competition obligation doesn’t persist beyond the termination of employment. Should the employer and employee opt to extend this obligation, they can enter into a post-employment non-competition agreement. Such agreements are deemed valid only if they are reasonably necessary and contain specific limitations on duration, geographic scope, and the nature of activities covered. However, it’s worth highlighting that unless otherwise agreed, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements designed to protect the employer’s legitimate interests remain in force following the end of the employment relationship.
The primary obligation of an employer is to provide full and timely compensation to employees. An employment contract in Turkey that does not stipulate the employer’s responsibility to pay wages is considered invalid. In alignment with the employee’s duty of loyalty, the employer is also obligated to ensure the well-being of the employee. This encompasses various aspects such as social security, health and safety, respecting union rights, safeguarding personal and professional reputation, upholding personal privacy and confidentiality, and preserving freedom of speech. Employers are additionally bound by obligations to treat employees equally and refrain from discrimination based on age, gender, maternity, language, race, skin color, disability, and even political, philosophical, or religious beliefs.
Under the Labor Law, employees are entitled to 14-26 days of annual paid leave, the duration of which depends on their length of service. Employers and employees can mutually agree on a higher number of paid vacation days, but not a lower one.
Employers are required to provide wages in cash on a regular basis, rather than in kind, unless specific exemptions apply. The wage of an employee must be denominated in Turkish Lira unless exceptions are made for employment agreements executed by Turkish subsidiaries, branches, or liaison offices of foreign entities, or for work conducted outside of Turkey. Wages may be paid in installments, and employers and employees may agree on premiums, bonuses, or alternative payment structures. These arrangements can be specified in employment contracts, collective labor agreements, or unilaterally granted by the employer.
Turkey has a legally mandated minimum wage determined by the government, which is announced at least once every two years.
According to the Labor Law, the workplace in Turkey can be any location agreed upon by the employer and employee, but it typically refers to the employer’s registered place of business, such as an office, facility, or factory. Employers are obligated to register their workplaces with the Ministry of Labor upon opening and must notify the Ministry of Labor when hiring new employees. Transfers or closures of workplaces also require notification to the Ministry of Labor.
When an employer consistently provides certain benefits to employees, this practice becomes a ‘workplace practice’ and becomes binding on the employer. Courts have determined that ‘consistently’ means at least three consecutive times, and the practice must apply consistently and generally to all or a definable group of employees. Common examples of such benefits include bonuses, clothing allowances, fuel allowances, and accommodation.
Employment Agreements in Turkey
Employment contracts in Turkey may be for a definite or indefinite period. The general rule is that employment contracts are indefinite. However, specific circumstances may justify a definite period contract, such as when the work must be completed within a set timeframe or is linked to a specific project.
Employment contracts do not require any special format unless stipulated otherwise by the Labor Law (e.g., definite period contracts must be in writing). They are exempt from stamp taxes or other charges. If there is no written contract, the employer is obligated to provide the employee with a written document detailing the terms of employment, including working hours, base salary, additional compensation, payment frequency, contract duration (if definite), and any termination provisions, within two months of the commencement of employment.
Azkan Group can support you in your Employer of Record (EOR) and payroll requests (also called Umbrella Company) in Turkey. We can manage your HR requests even if you don’t have a legal entity in Turkey.