In some cases in business life, it is not possible to strictly comply with the limitations on weekly working hours in Turkey, especially in the works carried out on highways, railways, lakes, rivers and seas in moving vehicles, or trying to comply with them affects the normal flow of work in a very negative way. In order to overcome this inconvenience, different regulations have been introduced with the “Regulation on Working Hours in Turkey Not Divided into Weekly Working Days”, which entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette dated 06.04.2004 and numbered 25424 in accordance with Article 63 of the Labour Law.
In this application, according to the definition in Article 3 of the Regulation, during the working period to be determined by the employer, which means an equalization period of at least two and at most six months required by the performance of the work, it is essential that the working time, which is defined as the total working time in a working period in Article 3, does not exceed the amount to be found by multiplying the total number of weeks in this period by the weekly working time. In this case, in fact, it is seen that an equalization process is carried out for works that are not divided into weekly working hours in Turkey.
With this equalisation, for example, if a 6-month working period is determined, even if more than 45 hours are worked in some weeks within this period, the total working time will not exceed 1179 hours at the end of 6 months, if there are 26 weeks according to the calendar. In case it exceeds, the payment of overtime wage will be in question.
If equalization is to be made for those who will work in jobs that cannot be divided into weekly working hours in Turkey, the following limitations regulated in Articles 4, 5 and 6 of the relevant regulation should also be considered:
- Daily working hours should not exceed 11 hours and night working hours should not exceed 7.5 hours. In the case of those who drive with a professional and heavy vehicle licence, the daily working time shall not exceed 9 hours, but this period may be increased to ten hours twice in any week.
- Night working hours in Turkey must not exceed 7.5 hours.
- If the workplace is a workplace where the maximum daily working time is 7.5 hours or less, the regulation issued according to Article 63, and if the workers are children or young workers, the regulation issued according to Article 71 should be taken into consideration.
As mentioned above, if there is overtime work at the end of the working period, the following points must be complied with in accordance with Article 11 of the Regulation:
- If the employee has not been able to work during the working period due to various reasons, the overtime work should be calculated according to the number of days worked during that period.
- The maximum amount of overtime work to be performed during the year shall be 270 hours.
- In the case of overtime work, the provisions of the Regulation on Overtime Work and Working for Excessive Periods in the Labour Law, which are not contrary to this Regulation, shall be applied. Accordingly, the wage must be paid with a 50% increase, overtime work approval must be obtained from the workers, the prohibitions regarding overtime work and related to these works must be complied with, and overtime work must be documented and kept.
- Again, according to Article 12 of the regulation, overtime work may be made in these works due to compulsory reasons or extraordinary reasons and overtime work may be made in accordance with Article 6 of the Law No. 79 explained above.
- Apart from overtime work, the differences of the regulations in the law regarding these works can be explained as follows.
- According to Article 13 of the Regulation, the provisions of the regulation issued according to Article 70 of the Law shall be complied with, as in the case of overtime work, when preparation, completion and cleaning works are performed in these works.
- In Article 7, although it is essential that intermediate rests are given in accordance with Article 68 of the Law, there is a different regulation stating that intermediate rests are generally given at stopping places, and if there is no stopping place between departure and destination or if there is a stopping place but it cannot be stopped due to the necessity of the work, the intermediate rest should be given in the vehicle.
- Article 8 prohibits workers in these jobs from working without rest for at least 11 hours in a 24-hour period without interruption.
- According to Article 9, the week holiday shall be granted for 24 hours without interruption on one day of the week.
- If there is work in worker posts (shift work), the working time will be arranged separately for each shift and the provisions of the regulation issued in accordance with Article 76 regarding shift work will be applied. In practice, the regulations of the shift work regulation that do not contradict this regulation shall be taken as basis.
There is also a regulation on the return of the workers who work in jobs that cannot be divided into weekly working hours in Turkey. Accordingly, employers are obliged to ensure that the workers working in moving vehicles and whose daily work ends outside their place of residence are taken to their place of residence or provided with a place to sleep, and if the employment contract is terminated outside the place of residence of the worker in accordance with Article 24 and Article 25, Clauses I and III of the Labour Law, the employer is obliged to ensure that the worker is taken to his/her place of residence, unless there is no other provision in the contract. The employer’s obligation is limited to the termination of the employment contract by the employee for just cause and the termination of the employment contract by the employer for health reasons and compulsory reasons. According to Article 17, the employer has no such obligation in the case of termination with notice, in the case of termination for just cause according to subparagraph II of Article 25 and in the case of termination due to arrest according to Article IV.
Finally, according to Article 16 of the Regulation, employers shall pay attention to the issues in the tables and tables to be organized in relation to these works. In these tables and schedules, the employer or the employer’s representative, who is responsible for the execution and order of the work, the working period, the daily start and end times of the work, the intermediate rest and daily rest times, and the days of week holidays are included in the vehicles in motion during each working period. Such tables and schedules must be posted in the administrative offices and on the vehicles and, if there is a trade union representative appointed under the Trade Union Act, he/she must be notified of this information.
Additionally, especially for heavy vehicle drivers, there are regulations regarding the duration in the Road Traffic Regulation. When the mandatory regulations in the Labour Law are taken into consideration, in practice, the feature of this regulation is that it creates the result of limiting the possibility of working for 11 hours with equalization in general according to the Labour Law to 9 hours for heavy vehicle drivers.