Can foreigners work in Turkey? Which criteria apply? Find an overview of the Turkish labor market in this article.
Expatriates from across the globe dream of settling and working in Turkey. If you are one of them, it is recommended that you inquire beforehand on its labor market, employment conditions, as well as on required visas. Note that working conditions in Turkey are quite different from those applied in many other countries.
In general, there are two groups of foreigners in Turkey: those who are transferred in their company's Turkish branch, and those who move there to find a job on their own. In all cases, obtaining a work permit is compulsory.
All foreigners intending to work in Turkey have to obtain a work permit. This document is issued by the Turkish Ministry of Labor for both determined and undetermined periods where it applies. The application, however, must be made at the Turkish Embassy or Consulate in your home country before you move. Once you have obtained your work permit, you will then have to request for a work visa, as well as a resident permit within 30 days following your arrival in the country.
As soon as you start working in Turkey, you will have to register with the Social Security within a month following the issue of your residence permit. Otherwise, your work permit will be cancelled. There are however some exceptions for European Union citizens.
There are three types of employment contracts in Turkey: the fixed period contract, the undated contract and the seasonal contract. These include full time and part time labor conditions.
The fixed period contact is determined in writing and can be renewed under some conditions. As regards the seasonal contract, workers are hired for a fixed number of hours per week or per month. Hence, it is deemed to be a part time job. However, the employer is required to contact the worker at least four days in advance and the job has to be performed for at least four hours. However, this type of contract may be modified to shorter deadlines.
In general, the Turkish labor law provides for 20 working hours per week in the case of seasonal contracts. Remuneration will be given as per an agreement between both parties.
An employment contract is generally written and lasts for a year at least. If you are applying for a 1 to 11 months contract, your employer will have to give you a written and signed documents listing the employment terms and conditions, as well as all mandatory information such as your name, your position in the company, your place of work and working schedule, your salary, as well as procedures regarding termination of contract and the date of conclusion.
The trial period should last for not more than two months. However, a maximum of four months trial period may be set as per a collective agreement between both parties, whereby both of them may terminate the contract without notice or compensation.
For the non-competition clause, it is valid only when it is reasonably limited for the position occupied at the time, that is a maximum of three years from the date of termination of the contract and in a limited zone. Moreover, if this clause is extended to the whole of Turkey, existing laws will deem it exaggerated. Finally, a Turkish judge will not be able to deliberate on any activity considered to be competitive outside the country.
In general, wages are determined by companies and not by the industry. Hence, these can be registered in the employment contract, provided it does not fall below the minimum wage which is reviewed at least every two years. As at the 1st January 2012, the monthly gross minimum wage was at 886.50 Turkey pounds, that is some 380 euros.
Moreover, the net salary refers to the amount of money available to the employee after income tax deduction. In fact, income tax is deducted at source in Turkey, and if both parties have agreed to a net wage, the employer must pay the specified amount and take care of the employee's income tax and social contributions.
Working hours and holidays
A legal working week in Turkey consists of 45 hours, distributed freely over seven week days with a maximum of 11 working hours daily. In case of night shift, the daily maximum is set at half past seven.
Overtime is performed with the consent of the employee and should not exceed a maximum of 270 hours per week. Note that overtime is paid at a rate of an additional 50% premium per working hour.
Religious and national holidays are considered as paid holidays. If you are made to work on public holidays with your employer's consent, you will be eligible to a double day payment.
As regards local leaves, the level of seniority is taken into account. Thus, an employee is eligible to 14 days off per year after having worked for 1 to 5 years in the same company. Those who have worked for more than 5 year in the same company are eligible to a 26 days leave.
Dismissal conditions in Turkey vary from case to case. In case of individual dismissal, the employer has to give valid justifications. Otherwise, the employee may claim reinstatement or damages following lawsuits. Hence, an employer has to give a two weeks’ notice to an employee who has worked for less than six months in a company and a two months’ notice to an employee who has worked for more than three years. The notice may, however, be replaced by appropriate compensation.
However, the employer is required to justify dismissal only in the following cases cumulatively:
- the company has more than 30 employees
- the employee has been working for more than 6 months
- the employee has an infinite duration contract
- the employee is not deemed fit as the company's representative by the employer.
Dismissals without notice or compensation and without compensation equivalent seniority apply to the following cases:
- serious illness
- defamation regarding the employer or his family members
- in case the employee has not come to work for more than a week without notice.
However, dismissal still has to be justified.
As regards collective dismissal, it cannot be motivated by technological and structural financial conditions, or similar reasons. Hence, collective dismissal refers to termination of employment at once or over a one month period applying to:
- at least 10 the company has between 20 and 100 employees
- 10% of the workforce the company has between 101 and 300 employees
- 30 employees if the company has more than 301 employees.
Employers opting for collective dismissal must inform the employees' trade union or representatives, as well as the regional labor authorities and the Turkish Labor Organization in writing.
CAGB - Ministry of Labour and Social Security www.csgb.gov.tr
International Labour Organization - Turkey www.ilo.org
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