In Turkey, regarding the labour legislation, the place where the employee performs the work specified in the employment contract and which is established and organized by the employer is called the workplace. However, in addition to this basic concept, there are a number of other concepts that differ from the concept of workplace. Therefore, firstly, it is necessary to focus on the concept of workplace in Turkey and then on other concepts related to the concept of workplace.
In Article 2 of the Labour Law No. 4857, the workplace is defined as the unit in which the material and non-material elements and workers are organized together for the purpose of producing goods and services by the employer. Accordingly, the workplace in Turkey must firstly be established by the employer, which is also defined in Article 2 of the law and is a party to the employment contract, and the purpose of establishment must be to produce goods and services. Additionally, the definition also includes the element of organisation. The organisation must include tangible (buildings, land, machinery, etc.) and intangible (trademarks, rights, inventions, etc.) elements and the worker (workers).
Furthermore, in the continuation of the article, places that are qualitatively related to the goods and services produced by the employer in the workplace and that are organised under the same management (places connected to the workplace) and other annexes and tools such as resting, breastfeeding, eating, sleeping, washing, examination and maintenance, physical and vocational training and courtyards are also considered as workplaces. This situation also draws the boundaries of the workplace. As a matter of fact, the workplace is accepted as a whole within the scope of the work organisation formed by the places, annexes and vehicles connected to the workplace. Especially in the determination of the employer’s obligations, the workplace should be a whole. For this reason, it is useful to explain the elements that constitute this integrity.
First of all, the places that are qualitatively connected to the goods and services produced in the workplace and managed by the same employer are also considered as workplaces. In this respect, a place that is not qualitatively connected to the work performed, even though it belongs to the same employer, or a place that is not managed by the same employer, although it is qualitatively connected, will not be considered as a place connected to the workplace. For example, in an integrated facility where more than one work is organized for the production of a final product, if the other works that are qualitatively connected to the main work belong to different employers, then it will be necessary to conclude that there is more than one workplace in Turkey within that physical integrity.
On the other hand, while drawing the boundaries of the workplace, the law mentions the workplace annexes and counts the units where needs such as resting, breastfeeding, eating, sleeping, etc. are met as workplace annexes. The places listed by the law are exemplary. In this respect, some work offices, union and representative rooms, meeting centres, training units and similar units that may be established according to the nature of the work performed, the size of the workplace or the number of employees or whether there is a collective bargaining agreement in the workplace should be considered as workplace annexes. In the meantime, it is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the unit to be evaluated is related to the execution of the work being carried out at the workplace.
The last criterion determined by the law in determining the boundaries of the workplace in Turkey is the vehicles. The fact that the law does not define the vehicle reveals that this concept should be interpreted broadly. From this point of view, passenger cars used for various needs of the workplace, work machines, machines, tools and equipment used in the workplace should also be considered within the concept of vehicle. Additionally, these vehicles do not need to be located within the workplace.
The importance of the law’s emphasis on the concept of workplace and its detailed definitions and the importance of drawing the boundaries of the workplace shows itself in situations such as the determination and execution of trade union activities, determination of responsibility in work accidents, and the implementation of obligations to be determined according to the number of workers and the size of the workplace.