In general terms, the provisions in Articles 2, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 21, 27, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 38, 39, 40, 45, 46, 47, 57, 59, 62, 112, 113 and 115 of the Labour Law contain provisions related to wage security or wage protection in Turkey, either in whole or in part.
1. Article 2 of the Labour Law regulates the relationship between the principal employer and the sub-employer in addition to the definitions, and it is accepted that the principal employer is jointly responsible for the obligations of the sub-employer. Accordingly, the fact that the principles of joint liability will be applied to the main employer regarding the wages of the employees not paid by the sub-employer serves to guarantee the wages.
2. According to Article 5 of the Labour Law, which protects the principles of equal treatment, discriminations based on race, language, colour, sex, disability, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect and similar and the type of service contract shall not be considered in the determination and payment of wages, along with many other factors. Discriminations based on the type of the employment contract, especially with regard to money, are prohibited. There are detailed regulations on the consequences of the contrary action in Article 12 regulating fixed-term employment contracts and Article 13 regulating part-time employment contracts.
3. According to the twelfth paragraph of Article 7 of the Labour Law regulating the temporary employment relationship, in the temporary employment relationship established in the event of an unforeseen increase in the average production capacity of goods and services of the employer to the extent that it requires the establishment of a temporary employment relationship, the employer employing temporary workers is obliged to check every month during the period of employment whether the wages of the temporary workers working in the workplace for more than one month are paid, and the private employment agency is obliged to submit the documents showing that the wages in Turkey are paid to the employer employing temporary workers on a monthly basis.
The employer employing temporary workers shall not pay the receivable of the private employment agency until the unpaid wages, if any, are paid, and shall deposit the wages of the temporary workers up to a maximum of three months directly to the bank account of the workers, provided that it is set off from the receivable of the private employment agency. The workers whose wages are not paid and the unpaid wage amounts in Turkey are notified to the Provincial Directorate of Labour and Employment Agency by the employer employing temporary workers.
4. Article 14 of the Labour Law, while regulating the issues related to part-time employment contracts based on on-call work, stipulates that if the parties do not determine the working time within the working period in the contract, the weekly working time will be 20 hours and the worker will be entitled to wages whether or not he/she is employed during this period and a wage in Turkey guarantee is created.
5. According to Article 16 of the Labour Law regulating team contracts, no deductions can be made from the wages of the workers for the team guide for intermediary or similar reasons.
6. According to Article 21 of the Law, following the termination of the employee’s employment in the context of job security, the employee must be paid his/her wages and other rights arising during the judicial process and up to a maximum of four months, if the reinstatement decision has been made.
7. According to Article 27 of the Labour Law, if the new job search leave is not given or used incompletely by the employer, the wage in Turkey for that period will have to be paid to the employee separately. Again, if the employee is employed during the job search leave, in addition to the wage that the employee receives without any work by using the leave, the wage for the period he worked will have to be paid to him with a 100% increase.
8. According to Article 32 of the Labour Law, the wage in Turkey must be paid in Turkish currency, it must be paid at the latest once a month, it cannot be paid with a promissory note, coupon or a bill purporting to represent valid money in the country or in any other way, the wages and other benefits of the employee must be paid immediately at the termination of the employment contract, and the inability to make payments in taverns and similar entertainment places and shops and stores selling retail goods constitutes wage security in a certain sense.
9. It is based on Article 34 of the law that the highest interest rate applied to deposits will be applied for wages that are not paid on time, that the workers may not work due to non-payment of wages without force majeure within 20 days from the day of payment of wages, and that they may even stop work collectively based on their personal decisions in this regard and that this situation cannot be qualified as a strike. In the event of such an action, it is not possible to interpret it as an illegal strike and terminate the service contracts in accordance with Article 70 of the Law No. 6356 on Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements.
10. According to Article 35 of the Labour Law, no more than one quarter of the workers’ wages can be seized or transferred and assigned to another person. However, the rights of alimony creditors are reserved. Additionally, the last paragraph of Article 10 of the Regulation on Short-Time Working and Short-Time Working Allowance, which was issued based on Article 65 of the Law, states that the short-time working allowance cannot be seized or transferred and assigned to another person, except for alimony receivables.
11. The provision of Article 36 of the Labour Law should also be taken into consideration, especially by public employers. In this regard, with the last paragraph of the article, the provision of this article can be used by all employers who are responsible for the sixth paragraph of Article 2 (subcontracting). In this way, the scope of the article has been expanded. Accordingly, all employers who subcontract work to a subcontractor according to the sixth paragraph of Article 2 are authorised to take and implement the measures specified in this article.
Accordingly, public institutions and private sector organisations, which are the main employers, shall check whether there are any workers whose wages are not paid by the contractor or subcontractors among the workers working in construction and repair works such as the construction of all kinds of buildings, bridges, lines and roads, or shall pay the unpaid wages by deducting the unpaid wages from their progress payments according to the payrolls to be requested from the contractor or subcontractors upon the application of the unpaid worker. For this purpose, the payment of progress payments shall also be announced by the relevant department by posting written announcements in places where workers can see such as the workplace notice board or places where workers are collectively located.
The aforementioned administrations shall not be held liable for more than three months of the wage receivables of the workers for each progress payment period in Turkey.
All kinds of transfer and handover transactions or seizure and execution proceedings to be carried out on all kinds of guarantees and progress payments of the aforementioned contractors in these employers will be reserved to cover the wage receivables of the employees working in this work in Turkey. Afterwards, the seizure and execution proceedings to be carried out on the installations, materials, raw, semi-processed and fully processed goods and other assets in the workplace due to the debts of the employer against the third party shall be carried out on the remaining part after the part that will cover the wage receivables in Turkey of the workers working in this workplace in the three-month period prior to the date of the enforcement decision is taken.
In the aforementioned Article 36, an obligation similar to the obligation foreseen for public employers is also adopted for other employers. In case employers subcontract work to subcontractors, they are obliged to check whether the wages of their employees are paid upon the application of the employee or on a monthly basis ex officio and, if any, to deduct the unpaid wages from the progress payments and deposit them into the bank account of the employees.
12. Article 38, which regulates the wage deduction penalty in Turkey, has also tied the wage deduction penalty to certain criteria and limited it to a certain amount. Apart from the Labour Law, there are also some regulations in the Law No. 5580 on Private Education Institutions. However, due to the details given below regarding this issue, only the function of wage security is emphasized here.
13. Article 39 of the Provincial Law establishes wage security in Turkey by stating that wages cannot be paid below the minimum wage stipulated in Article 39 of the Provincial Law. Although it is in fact the most important institution in terms of guaranteeing a certain wage, it is considered sufficient in this section to know only the wage security function of the minimum wage, which can be the subject of a separate study in terms of its effects, acceptance and implementation.
14. According to Article 40 of the Law, as stipulated in Articles 24 and 25, in the event of absence of work due to compelling reasons, half of the wages of the employee up to one week must be paid for each day, and according to Article 46, half of the wage in Turkey must also be paid for week holidays.
15. Another regulation that should be mentioned regarding the protection of wages is included in Article 45 of the Labour Law. According to the aforementioned regulation, collective bargaining agreements or employment contracts shall not contain provisions restricting the rights granted to workers by law regarding week holidays, national holidays and general holidays, paid leave and percentage working. As a natural consequence of this regulation, such a collective bargaining agreement or labour agreement provision must be ignored and the rights must be restored from the beginning. On the contrary, the provisions of the law, collective bargaining agreement and labour agreement that provide more favourable rights and benefits to the employee in these matters shall be reserved and, in other words, may be applied.
16. In the workplaces where the percentage method is applied, it is stipulated that the employer shall pay the week holiday wage, national holiday and general holiday wage in Turkey and annual leave wage on week holidays (Article 46), national holidays and general holidays (Article 47) and annual leave days (Article 57) when there is no work and naturally no money can be collected by percentage method and a wage security has been established in this way.
17. According to Article 59 of the Labour Law, when the employee’s employment contract is terminated, regardless of who and on what grounds it is terminated, the wages of the unused leave must be paid to the employee at the last wage.
18. Article 62 of the Labour Law regulates the cases where wages cannot be reduced. Accordingly, the wages cannot be reduced on the basis of the legal reduction of the working hours applied in all kinds of work to lower limits, the fulfilment of a legal obligation of the employer, the application of one of the provisions of the law. For example, if the working hours are reduced to 40 hours with a collective labour agreement or a legal regulation to be made later, a deduction of 5 hours cannot be made from the wages of the employees. The employer shall not deduct from the wages the costs of procedures such as obtaining reports, issuing and issuing documents or sending notifications regarding termination of employment. In case of pregnancy, no deduction can be made from the wage in case the employee takes leave for periodic examination or uses milk leave in Turkey.
In addition to this general provision, a number of special arrangements have been made in the labour legislation with the provisions of various regulations. According to Article 6 of the Regulation on Special Procedures and Principles Regarding Work in Workplaces Employing Workers in Shifts, no deduction can be made from the wages of workers in any way whatsoever due to a reduction in working hours as a result of increasing the number of shifts by two or more shifts or determining the daily working time below 7.5 hours in workplaces working in three shifts. According to Article 11 of the Regulation on the Distribution of the Money Collected from the Percentages to the Workers, no deduction shall be made from the wages, social benefits and other rights of the workers working outside the service due to the allocation of a share from the percentages. According to Article 8 of the Regulation on the Conditions of Employment of Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women, Breastfeeding Rooms and Child Care Facilities, if deemed necessary with a doctor’s report, the pregnant worker will be given lighter work, but his/her wage will not be reduced in Turkey. According to Article 17 of the Regulation on Domestic Job Placement Services, being disabled, ex-convicts and victims of terrorism shall not be a reason for lower wages and these workers shall be entitled to the same social benefits as other workers.
19. A regulation on the protection of wages is also included in Article 112 of the Law. Accordingly, within the scope of the Public Procurement Contracts Law No. 4735 and the Mining Law No. 3213 and within the framework of royalty agreements, the revenues obtained through the seizure of the assets belonging to the shareholders of the companies operating underground mines by the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund or through the follow-up shall be used primarily for the leave of the workers who have worked in the companies within the scope of these contracts and whose employment contracts have been terminated in a way to deserve severance pay, overtime and other wage receivables (payments for notice and severance payments are also included in this provision) and these payments will be deposited by the Fund into the accounts of the relevant persons. The information and documents related to these payments must be submitted to the Fund by the last employer of the employee.
20. Although Article 113 of the Law is listed in the exceptions in Article 5, Article 32 titled “Wage and Payment of Wage”, Article 35 titled “Hidden Part of Wage”, Article 37 titled “Wage Account Sheet” and Article 38 titled “Wage Deduction Penalty in Turkey” of the Labour Law shall be applied in the workplaces where agricultural and forestry works are carried out in the workplaces employing less than 50 workers (including 50) and in the workplaces where three workers work in accordance with the definition in Article 2 of the Tradesmen and Craftsmen Law No. 507.
21. With Article 115 of the Labour Law, if the number of workers in the workplaces is one hundred and fifty or more, in order to meet the necessary needs of the workers’ families, the employers will allocate space to the consumption cooperatives to be established by the workers and the workers will be able to shop cheaper.