Turkish Labor Law

Turkish labor law is also becoming increasingly important in UE-Turkish legal relations.

Because there are now around 5,750 companies with German participation in Turkey (as of June 2014). German companies often come into contact with Turkish labor law for the first time when they employ Turkish managing directors on site or when other employees are employed. Here it is important to deal with Turkish labor law in advance, as this has a number of special features that do not exist in German labor law.

The authoritative source for Turkish labor law is Law No. 4857 (İş Kanunu), which came into force on June 10th, 2003.

At this point, some important legal regulations should be presented:

Conclusion of the employment contract:

According to Art. 8 Para. 1, there is an employment relationship according to which an employee undertakes to an employer to perform work in accordance with instructions and for a fee. As in German law, it is possible to conclude an employment contract for an indefinite period or for a limited period, whereby in the latter case there must be a reason for the limitation. Otherwise, the employment relationship is deemed to have been concluded for an indefinite period.

In principle, there is no formal requirement for employment contracts. However, according to Art. 8 Para. 2 of the Turkish Labor Law, written form is required if a fixed-term employment relationship is intended for a period of one year or more. A breach of this does not render the employment relationship ineffective, but leads to an indefinite employment relationship.

A probationary period of up to two months can be agreed in accordance with Article 15 Paragraph 1, or up to four months if a collective agreement is applied.


According to Article 53 of the Turkish Labor Law, the statutory minimum holiday in Turkey is 14 days for employment between 1 and 5 years (including the 5th year), 20 days for employment for more than 5 years but under 15 years and for employment for 15 years and more 26 days.

It should be noted that including the probationary period, the employee is entitled to paid leave only after completing one year of employment. Deviating regulations in favor of the employee can be made in the employment contract.

In addition, there are the legal and religious holidays of currently 8 days a year.

Termination of Employment:

If a probationary period has been agreed, the employment relationship can be terminated by either party within the probationary period without notice and without payment of a severance payment by the employer (cf. Art. 15 Para. 2).

In the case of fixed-term employment contracts, the unilateral termination of the employment relationship requires a reason that entitles you to extraordinary (without notice) termination. There is no legal definition of this in the law. Art. 24 contains a list of such justifying reasons for the employee and Art. 25 for the employer.

Extraordinary termination is also possible under the aforementioned articles in the case of permanent employment relationships.

Ordinary termination is generally possible without giving reasons. The only thing to be observed is the respective notice period, which depends on the length of service.

As in German law, the special protection against dismissal according to Art. 18 et seq. applies if the permanent employment relationship has existed for at least six months and if the employer is in the same industry – meaning not just the company as a small organizational unit – employs at least 30 people.

A termination is then only effective if there is a valid reason. Again, there is a similarity with German labor law, since in this case the employer can base the termination on personal, behavioral or operational reasons. As in Germany, the labor courts will then have to assess whether there is a reason of this kind or not. Art. 18 para. 2 merely regulates a non-exhaustive list of reasons that the employer may not use.

What is very important, however, is that according to Art. 19 Para. 1, the reason for each termination – in contrast to German labor law – must be clearly stated in the letter of termination. Otherwise, the termination is already invalid for formal reasons.