Engage In Turkey

Table of Contents

About Turkey

Capital City

Ankara

Population

As of March 2024, the estimated population of Turkey is 85,816,199 people.

Currency

The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY). The currency symbol is ₺.

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Overview

Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkey, is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Covering an area of approximately 783,356 square kilometers, it spans two continents and is surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west. With its rich history and diverse cultural heritage, Turkey serves as a bridge between Eastern and Western civilizations. The country is renowned for its captivating landscapes, from stunning beaches along its coastline to majestic mountains in the interior regions. Turkey has countless historical sites, including ancient ruins, grand mosques, and magnificent palaces. Its capital, Ankara, is a bustling modern city, while Istanbul stands as the country’s economic, cultural, and historical heart. Turkey is also known for its mouthwatering cuisine, blending flavors from the Middle East, Mediterranean, and Central Asia. With a vibrant mix of traditions, modernity, and natural beauty, Turkey invites visitors to explore its unique blend of enchanting historical landmarks, breathtaking landscapes, and warm Turkish hospitality.

Employment Relationship

Permanent Employment

Turkey's labor law defines a permanent employment contract as an employment contract signed for an indefinite term. Any contract that does not include a fixed term is deemed to be concluded for an indefinite term. Such contracts can be terminated at any time by either party by giving a notice to the other.

Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Per Turkey's labor law, a fixed-term employment contract is a contract concluded for a definite period between a given employee and employer. This type of contract has a specified term or is based on the emergence of objective conditions such as the completion of a certain project or the occurrence of a certain event. A fixed-term employment contract must not be concluded more than once unless there is an essential reason which may require repeated, chain contracts. Otherwise, the employment contract will be deemed to have been made for an indefinite period from the very beginning. An employee working under a fixed-term employment contract must not be treated differently than a comparable employee working under an employment contract concluded for an indefinite period. Fixed term contracts can be terminated by either party before the end of their term in case of gross misconduct by the other party, health reasons or force majeure. 

Temporary Employment Contratcs

According to Turkey's labor law, a temporary employment relationship is established when the employer transfers an employee, upon obtaining their written consent at the time of transfer, to another establishment within the same holding company's structure, the same group of companies, or another employer. In such cases, the employment contract between the original employer (the transferor) and the employee continues to be in effect. In addition to this relationship, the employee must work for the employer with whom the temporary employment relationship has been established (the transferee). The transferee may give the employee orders; however, they are obligated to provide the employee with the necessary training to mitigate health and safety risks. A temporary employment relationship may be established for a period not to exceed six months. Additionally, it may be renewed twice if required. The transferor's obligation to pay the employee's wages shall continue during this time.

Probationary Period

Turkey's labor code allows for the use of a probationary period in employment contracts. The maximum duration of the probationary period is two months but it can be extended to four months by collective agreement. During the probationary period, both parties are free to terminate the contract without a notice period or severance. An employee’s entitlement to wages and other rights for the days worked are preserved.

Working Hours

Turkey's labor law defines the standard workweek as 45 hours. Employees working more than these hours are eligible for overtime. Unless the employment contract stipulates otherwise, working time is to be divided equally by the number of days worked in a week at the organization. Provided that the parties have so agreed, working time may be divided differently among the days of the week worked on the condition that the daily working time does not exceed 11 hours. In this case, within a time period of two months, the employee's average weekly working time shall not exceed 45 hours. This averaging period of two months may be increased up to four months by collective agreement.

Holidays / PTO

Statutory Holidays

Republic Day - October 29 (National Holiday); New Year’s Day - January 1; May Day - May 1

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day - April 23; Atatürk's Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day - May 19; Victory Day - August 30; Ramadan Feast - 3.5 days leave (Dates subject to change every year); Feast of Sacrifice - 4.5 days leave (Dates subject to change every year).

Paid Annual Leave

Employees who have completed a minimum of one1 year of service with their employer, including any probation period, shall be allowed to take paid annual leave. Employees cannot waive their right to paid annual leave. The following paid annual leave requirements do not apply to employees engaged in seasonal or other occupations which, due to their nature, last less than one year. For service between one and five years (five included), the duration of annual leave is 14 days. For service between five and 15 years, the duration of annual leave is 20 days. For service of more than 15 years (15 included), the duration of annual leave is 26 days. Those working in underground jobs are entitled to 4 extra days of annual leave. Annual leave for those under 18 years of age or above 50 is at least 20 days. In calculating the length of service required to qualify for paid annual leave, the total period during which employees have been employed in one or more establishments belonging to the same employer shall be considered.

Sick Leave

The labor law of Turkey entitles employees to paid sick leave for a maximum period of one week upon the production of a medical report. Sick leave is fully paid for by the employer. The employer may grant the employee additional unpaid sick leave. Any convalescent or sick leave that is taken by the employee must not be deducted from the employee's annual leave entitlement. Employees can request financial assistance from the Social Security Institute if they are covered and meet the eligibility criteria beginning on the third day of incapacity to work.

Maternity Leave

Turkey's labor law provides female employees with 16 weeks of maternity leave: eight weeks before delivery and eight weeks after delivery. In case of a pregnancy with multiple children, an extra two week period shall be added to the eight weeks before delivery during which female employees must not work. However, a female employee whose health condition is deemed suitable, as confirmed by a physician's certificate, may work until three weeks before delivery if she wishes. In this case, the time during which the female employee has worked shall be added to her maternity leave after delivery. In case of early birth, the remaining leave is added to post natal leave. The periods mentioned above may be extended before and after delivery if deemed necessary because of the female employee's health and the nature of her work. The increased time increments shall be indicated in a physician's report. Employees are entitled to 66.7% of the average daily earnings of the employee for the duration of the maternity leave, paid by the Social Security Institute of Turkey. 

Paternity Leave

Turkey's Labor Act provides employees in the private sector with five days of paid paternity leave if their spouse has given birth. In the case of adoption, private sector employees are entitled to three days of paid leave.

Termination of Employment

Notice Period

Turkey's Labor Act states that before terminating a continual employment contract made for an indefinite period, the terminating party must serve a notice to the other party. The minimum duration of the notice period depends on the employee's length of service as follows: For employees who have worked for less than 6 months, the notice period is 2 weeks For employees who have worked for more than 6 months but less than 1.5 years, the notice period is 4 weeks For employees who have worked for more than 1.5 years but less than 3 years, the notice period is 6 weeks For employees who have worked for more than 3 years, the notice period is 8 weeks These are minimum periods and may be increased by agreement between the parties. The party who fails to observe the notice period must pay compensation equivalent to the wages corresponding to the notice period's duration. The employer may terminate the employment contract by paying the wages corresponding to the term of notice in advance.

Severance Benefits

Per Turkish labor law, an employee becomes eligible for severance pay if they have completed at least 1 year of service with their employer. Where an employer has dismissed an employee and has given an advance notice period, the employee is eligible to receive severance pay. If an employee terminates the contract by resignation, they will not be eligible for severance pay. Severance pay is calculated as 1 month's gross wages for each year of employment, subject to a statutory ceiling of TRY 11,909.08 (Turkish lira) as of January 2024. Employers must also pay out any unused annual leave to employees upon termination.

Social Security

Pension

The retirement age in Turkey is 60 years for male employees and 58 for female employees. Employees become eligible for an old-age pension upon reaching this age and completing 7,200 days of contributions to the National Social Security program. The pension is based on the employee's average lifetime earnings, adjusted according to Turkey's GDP growth and the change in inflation [(1 + CPI + 30% GDP)]. The accrual rate is 2% for one year of coverage, and it cannot exceed 90% of the pension. The source of funds for the old-age pension, disability, and survivors benefits provided by the Social Security Institute is the contributions made by employees and employers. Effective 2024, the government increased its matching contribution under both BES programs from 25% to 30% of participants' annual contribution. The maximum government match is TRY 72,009.00 (Turkish lira).  Pre-retirement withdrawals are now allowable, and participants can withdraw up to 50% of their account balance before reaching age 56 under certain conditions.  The age limit to enroll in the OKS has been removed. Previously, only employees younger than 45 were eligible to enroll. 

Dependents/Survivors Benefit

The Social Security Institute of Turkey provides a monthly pension to survivors in the case of death of an employee entitled to receive an old-age or disability pension at the time of death. The monthly pension is also available to survivors of employees who died due to an occupational accident or disease. The benefits are equal to 70% of the average monthly remuneration of the employee. Legal survivors include spouses, children under 18 years of age (or under 20 if still in school), and the employee's parents. The survivors are eligible for pensions if the deceased employee had paid 9000 days of insurance. The pension is divided among the survivors as follows: 50% is paid to the widowed spouse, 75% is paid to the childless widowed spouse 25% is paid to the children 50% is paid to the orphan children 25% is paid to the parents of the deceased employee Survivors of employees who die in a work accident or due to an occupational disease are also entitled to the same benefits.

Invalidity Benefit

The Social Security Institute of Turkey provides disability pensions for insured employees. The employee must have lost 60% of their working capacity to be eligible for the disability pension. An employee becomes eligible for a disability pension if they have been insured for at least ten years and paid contributions for a total of 1,800 days. The amount of the disability pension is calculated by multiplying the average monthly income of the employee with an accrual factor equal to 2% for each year the employee has been insured. The accrual factor cannot be more than 90%. In case of disability due to work accidents or occupational diseases, insured employees are entitled to benefits. Temporary disability benefits are paid as half of daily income in case of inpatient treatment and two-thirds of daily income in case of outpatient treatment. In case of permanent disability resulting in loss of earning power by at least 10%, the benefit is paid as 70% of monthly income for complete disability and proportionately for partial disability.  

Taxation of Compensation and Benefits

Personal Income Tax

In Turkey, both residents and non-residents are subject to income tax. Residents are defined as persons who have permanent residence in Turkey or who have stayed in the country for more than 6 months in a year. Turkey's tax year is the same as the calendar year, running from January 1 through December 31. Personal income tax rates vary between 15% and 40%, depending on the annual taxable income. 

Immigration

Types of Visas

Work Permit

Foreigners who wish to work in Turkey are required to obtain a work permit. A work permit for fixed-term employment is granted for one year. After this duration, the permit can be extended to six years as long as the employee continues to work in the same workplace or company in the same position. Indefinite period work permits are also issued to foreigners who have stayed uninterruptedly in Turkey for eight years or to those who are nationals of countries with which Turkey has signed an agreement for indefinite work permits. Foreigners who wish to work in Turkey independently can obtain a work permit if they have stayed in Turkey legally and uninterruptedly for at least five years. To obtain a work permit, foreign employees can apply to the Republic of Turkey consulates in their country of residence. The consulates forward applications to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs grants the permit if an application meets requirements. 

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