Article 69 of the Labour Law No. 4857, which regulates night shift in Turkey, contains a number of provisions on worker shifts, and Article 76 stipulates the issuance of a regulation on this subject. The said regulation was published in the Official Gazette dated 07.04.2004 and numbered 25426 under the name of “Regulation on Special Procedures and Principles Regarding the Work carried out by Employing Workers in Shifts” and entered into force.
According to Article 4, the following principles must be observed in the determination and sequencing of shifts:
In the works carried out by employing workers in successive posts without stopping due to their continuous nature, the number of posts shall be arranged so as to employ at least three shifts of workers within a 24-hour period. This is the general rule. However, in tourism, private security and health services, the arrangement may be made in such a way that there are two shifts in 24 hours.
In other works other than the above-mentioned cases and which are carried out with worker shifts, the number of worker shifts to be worked within a 24-hour period shall be arranged in such a way that the working time of each worker shift does not exceed the daily working time specified in the working hours regulation regarding the labour law stipulated in the third paragraph of Article 63 of the Labour Law No. 4857.
The number of worker posts in jobs that require 7.5 hours or less of work per day in terms of health rules, the working time of each shift shall be arranged so as not to exceed the daily working hours specified in the regulation stipulated in the last paragraph of Article 63 of the Labour Law No. 4857.
In the regulation of the number of worker shifts, the provisions of Article 6 of Law No. 79 and Article 43 of the Labour Law shall be taken into consideration. These two provisions cover matters relating to extraordinary overtime work.
Regarding the shifts to be determined in this way, the obligation of announcement has been introduced in Article 3 and Article 12 of the regulation. Accordingly, the employer or the employer’s representatives are obliged to organise the number of shifts, the starting and finishing times of each shift, the names and surnames of the workers, the intermediate rest periods, the week holidays and the related changes, and to announce them in the workplace in a way that the workers can easily see and read, and to keep the lists containing the names and surnames of the workers working in each shift at the workplace to be submitted to the Ministry upon request.
The sequencing of shifts and changeover times are regulated in Article 69 of the Law and Article 8 of the Regulation. In workplaces that operate day and night and employ rotating shifts of workers, shifts shall be organised in such a way that workers who work at night for a maximum of one week shall work during the day.
However, according to Article 69 of the Labour Law No. 4857, the employer shall, to the extent possible, give the worker who certifies with a report that his/her health has deteriorated due to night shift in Turkey, work suitable for his/her condition in the day shift. Depending on the nature of the work, occupational health and safety, the principle of two-week rotation in day and night shifts may also be applied.
In accordance with the above explanations, after the determination of the worker shifts, it is necessary to take into account some special regulations about the workers who will work in shifts. These regulations are included in Article 69 of the law and the provisions of the regulation.
When working in shifts, the shifts must be lined up. If there are three shifts at the workplace, the worker will work in the first shift in the first week, in the second shift in the following week and in the third shift in the last week.
Another issue to be considered in shift work is the organisation of the work done during the night shift period in Turkey. In accordance with Articles 5 and 7 of the Regulation, the following arrangements must be made in this case.
- The night shift in Turkey defined in the first paragraph of Article 69 of the Labour Law is the shifts between 20:00 – 06:00. Children and young workers under 18 years of age should not be employed.
- Workers should not work more than 7.5 hours in night shifts, except for overtime work for compulsory reasons as stipulated in Articles 42 and 43 of the Labour Law and overtime work in extraordinary situations and in cases related to preparation, completion and cleaning works specified in the regulation stipulated in Article 70.
- However, in tourism, private security and health services, it is possible to perform night work over seven and a half hours, provided that the written consent of the worker is obtained.
- The tourism works referred to in this provision shall be defined in the relevant legislation in the facilities where the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has issued a tourism business certificate or tourism investment certificate or where the municipality has issued a business certificate to operate as a tourism business,
- Private security services are carried out in private security companies or in any workplace as a private security officer, which are granted an activity permit by the Ministry of Interior within the scope of Law No. 5188 on Private Security Services,
- Healthcare work shall include workers employed in the workplaces of real persons and public and private legal entities and their branches without legal personality, social service institutions defined in the Social Services Law No. 2828, and workers employed by subcontractors in these workplaces, who provide and/or produce healthcare services.
- The work of a shift in which more than half of the working time coincides with the night period shall be considered as night shift in Turkey.
According to Article 6 of the Regulation, the wages of workers shall not be reduced in any way whatsoever due to the reduction in working hours as a result of increasing the number of two or more shifts or determining the daily working time below 7.5 hours in workplaces where three shifts are worked.
According to Article 9, workers shall not be made to work continuously for at least eleven hours without rest during shift change and this provision shall also apply to workers whose posts are changed.
Rest breaks during shift work are regulated in Article 9. Accordingly, although it is essential that the workers are given a break in accordance with Article 68 of the Labour Law, if the nature of the work does not allow all workers in the same part of a workplace to be given a break at the same time, it is also possible to give the break to the workers in groups, starting from the middle of the working period in succession, according to the principles of the Labour Law and the regulation.
The regulation on week holidays is included in Article 12 of the Regulation. According to the provision of the article, it is obligatory to give week holiday to the workers in the works carried out by employing workers in shifts, on one day of the week, not less than 24 hours and by rotation.
A particular issue in the work carried out by employing workers in shifts is the employment of women workers in night shift. Article 73 of the Labour Law No. 4857 and Article 30/a of the Occupational Health and Safety Law No. 6331 stipulated the issuance of a regulation on this subject, and this regulation was published in the Official Gazette dated 24.07.2013 and numbered 28717 under the title “Regulation on the Conditions of Employment of Female Employees on Night Shifts” and entered into force. According to the provisions of the aforementioned regulation, if women workers will be employed in night shift in Turkey, some special obligations must be fulfilled or some issues must be taken into consideration:
First and foremost, according to Article 5 of the Regulation, it is forbidden for women workers to work more than one and a half hours on night shifts under any circumstances whatsoever. In parallel to this, women employees cannot do overtime work during night shifts. However, the fact that the working time is limited to seven and a half hours and the concept of overtime work is not mentioned, it seems possible for women employees to work overtime. In cases where the daily work exceeds seven and a half hours, regardless of whether this work exceeds the total duration of 45 hours per week, it should be considered as overtime work and the wage should be accrued and paid accordingly.
According to Article 6 of the Regulation, employers are obliged to take female workers who will work night shift in Turkey in workplaces outside the municipal boundaries or in workplaces within the municipal boundaries but which are difficult to commute by conventional means during the postal change hours, to and from the workplace from the centre closest to their residence by means of suitable vehicles to be provided.
According to Article 7 of the Regulation, in order for women workers to be employed on night shift in Turkey, a health report must be obtained from the workplace physician stating that there is no impediment to their work and control examinations must be repeated at regular intervals deemed appropriate by the workplace physician.
According to Article 8, if the spouse of the female worker works in the same or a separate workplace where work is carried out in shifts, night work at the request of the female worker will be arranged so that it does not coincide with the night shift in which her spouse works. If the spouses work in the same workplace and want to work in the same night shift in Turkey, this request will be met to the extent possible.
According to Article 9 of the Regulation, if a female worker is pregnant, she is prohibited from working on night shifts for a period of one year from the date of the determination of the situation with a doctor’s report until the birth, and breastfeeding women workers are prohibited from working on night shifts for a period of one year starting from the date of birth, without prejudice to the provisions of their own legislation. For breastfeeding women, this period will be extended for six more months and their work will be arranged to coincide with day shifts if it is determined by the report of the workplace doctor in charge at the workplace that it is necessary for the health of the mother and child.
Finally, according to Article 10 of the Regulation, the list of names of female workers to be employed during night shifts will be kept at the workplace and will be shown to labour inspectors upon request.