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Contract LawEmployment Contracts in Turkish Law

Employment Contracts in Turkish Law with a diverse economy and strategic location, Turkey is an attractive destination for foreign investment and employment. The country’s labor laws, particularly those relating to employment contracts, play a crucial role in governing the employer-employee relationship. This guide provides an in-depth exploration of the intricacies of drafting and implementing employment contracts in accordance with Turkish Law.

Understanding Employment Contracts in Turkish Law

An employment contract in Turkish Law, defined under the Turkish Law of Obligation, Law no 6098, is a binding agreement wherein an employee commits to performing work under the employer’s supervision in exchange for a wage. Whether you’re a foreign firm conducting business in Turkey or an expatriate seeking employment, understanding the statutory requirements of employment contracts is vital.

Form and Language of Contract

As per Turkish law, an employment contract isn’t subject to a specific form unless otherwise regulated by law. Hence, employment relationships based on verbal agreements or implicit understanding are permissible. However, for a contract lasting a year or more, a written document is required.

The written contract document, exempt from stamp duty and charges, should detail:

  • General and specific working conditions
  • Daily or weekly work periods
  • Wage amount and additional payments (if any)
  • Time of payment
  • Duration of contract (if specified)
  • Conditions for termination

This document should be provided within two months of work commencement except for contracts concluded for less than a month.

Moreover, in compliance with the law on compulsory use of the Turkish language in commercial enterprises, employment contracts involving a Turkey-based commercial entity must be executed in Turkish. This applies to contracts between commercial companies incorporated in Turkey and employees, irrespective of their nationality.

Duration of Contract

A defining characteristic of an employment contract is its duration. An employment contract need not stipulate the length of employment, validity period, or expiry date. Where the contract isn’t made for a certain period, it is deemed open-ended. Conversely, fixed-term contracts specify a period or an event, the duration of which can be objectively determined.

It’s crucial to note that fixed-term contracts must be written, as mandated by law. They cannot be extended or renewed sequentially unless there are solid grounds for such action. In case of sequential extension or renewal without valid reasons, such contracts are considered open-ended from the beginning.

Working Hours and Compensation

The Labour Law establishes the maximum weekly working hours as 45 and daily working hours as 11. However, these can be adjusted based on mutual agreement between the parties, provided they adhere to the law’s stipulations. If working hours exceed these limits, the excess is considered overtime, and employees are entitled to at least 50% more than their normal hourly wage.

Regarding compensation, the minimum wage is regulated by the Labour Law and the Minimum Wage Regulation numbered 5454. The minimum wage is periodically determined by the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security, setting the lowest limit for all business lines.

Status of Employee and Contractual Relationship

In Turkish labour law, no legal distinction exists between “blue-collar” and “white-collar” employees. They are governed by the same general employment regulations, with one exception being senior managers, who may not request overtime wages or benefit from employment security.

An employment contract can be drawn up in accordance with the needs of the parties as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the provisions of the Labour Law. This contract may be full-time or part-time, based on a trial period, or any other method agreed upon by the parties.

Restrictive Covenants and Data Privacy Law

Employment contracts often include restrictive covenants such as non-competition and non-solicitation clauses. These are designed to protect the employer’s legitimate interests, and their validity is subject to certain conditions. Also, with the introduction of the Personal Data Protection Law (KVKK), employers must take all necessary measures to protect their employees’ personal data.

Termination of Employment

Termination of employment contracts in Turkish Law can occur due to various reasons such as death of the employee, termination by one of the parties, expiration of the term in a fixed-term contract, or by mutual agreement. The most common way an employment contract is terminated is through termination by the employee or employer.

In cases of termination, employers are obliged to pay severance upon the termination of an employee who has been continuously employed for at least one year if certain conditions are met, such as termination by the employer that is not based on just cause related to the employee’s unethical behaviors or actions against good faith.

Foreign Workers

Foreigners who wish to be employed within Turkey must have a work permit granted by the government. The work permit application must be sent to the Turkish embassy in the foreign country where the foreign employee resides. Work permits are divided into “temporary work permits”, “indefinite work permits”, and “independent work permits”.

Collective Relations

Collective labour agreements are agreements signed between the labour union authorized to make a contract and employer organizations or the employer, which determine the working conditions applicable to the employment relationship. These agreements set out the terms and conditions of employment that are legally binding for the parties to the contract and their respective members and set out the minimum terms and conditions of the employment relationship.

FAQs

Q: What is the significance of employment contracts in Turkish Law?

A: Employment contracts form the basis of the employer-employee relationship in Turkey. They outline the rights, obligations, and expectations of both parties, providing a legal framework for employment.

Q: Are there any specific requirements for employment contracts in Turkey?

A: Yes, certain requirements exist. For instance, contracts lasting a year or more must be written. Also, employment contracts involving a Turkey-based commercial entity must be executed in Turkish.

Q: How are working hours and compensation determined in Turkish Law?

A: The Labour Law establishes the maximum weekly working hours as 45. If working hours exceed these limits, the excess is considered overtime. Regarding compensation, the minimum wage is regulated by the Labour Law and the Minimum Wage Regulation numbered 5454.

Q: How does termination of employment contracts work in Turkish Law?

A: Termination of employment contracts can occur due to various reasons such as the death of the employee, termination by one of the parties, expiration of the term in a fixed-term contract, or by mutual agreement.

Q: Can foreigners be employed in Turkey?

A: Yes, foreigners can be employed in Turkey, but they must have a work permit granted by the government.

Conclusion

While this guide provides a comprehensive overview of employment contracts in Turkish Law, navigating the complexities of labor legislation can be challenging. At Istanbul Law Office, our team of expert contract lawyers in Istanbul can provide professional legal guidance on how to draft employment contracts, ensuring compliance with Turkish regulations. Our English-speaking lawyers in Istanbul have extensive records of service and can assist clients without them needing to come to Turkey. We encourage you to reach out to our Istanbul Law Office for any inquiries related to employment contracts in Turkey.