Recent development

Turkey has adopted a new law, effective April 23, imposing, among other things, new occupational health and safety requirements on employers.

Incentives to prevent occupational accidents

The employer's share for unemployment insurance is decreased from 2% to 1% for three years, starting from the following calendar year, if:

  • the workplace is classified as "very dangerous",
  • more than 10 persons are employed in the workplace, and
  • no occupational accident has occurred in the workplace which has caused death or permanent injury during the previous three years.

Parental and adoption leave

  • Employees who have adopted a child are entitled to three days' paid leave.
  • Male employees are entitled to five days' paid leave upon the birth of a child.
  • An employee who is the parent of a child with a disability rating of at least 70% or a child who receives treatment for a chronic disease is entitled to ten days' paid leave per year, which can be taken in installments, provided that only one of the child's parents uses this right and a medical report confirms the child's disability or medical status.

Night work

With the employees' prior written consent, an employer may have employees working in tourism, private security, or health services work at night for more than seven and a half hours.

Child labor

Children under 14 years old may be employed for artistic, cultural and advertising activities provided their employment does not hinder their physical, mental and moral development or interfere with school attendance. Employers must have a written employment agreement and obtain parental consent for each activity. Children employed for artistic, cultural and advertising activities cannot work more than 30 hours per week and five hours per day.

Working hours for a child employee may be increased to eight hours per day and 40 hours per week when the child reaches the age of 16. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security has been directed to publish a regulation specifying the nature of art, culture and advertising activities, setting forth rules for work permits for children engaged in these activities, and working conditions based on age group and activity.

Mining sector

To help ensure payment of employment-related debts owed to mining company employees, proceeds from the seizure or judicial sale of mining companies paid to the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) are to be used to compensate these employees for their seniority pay, notice pay, overtime pay, and other accrued pay directly to employee bank accounts.

If a mining accident results in an employee's death and a court determines that the employer is at fault, the employer is prohibited from participating in public procurement for two years. The court's judgment is recorded in a registry maintained by the Public Procurement Authority and published on its official webpage.

For underground work, the maximum work hours per week has been increased from 36 to 37½ hours, and maximum work hours per day from 6 to 7½ hours.

Social security-related changes

The contribution for social security charges (Sosyal Güvenlik Destek Primi) paid by "independent employees," e.g., self-employed persons, who continue to work after retirement, has been reduced to 10% of the total monthly retirement pension, down from 15%.

The new law grants employers amnesty from interest on debts finalized by court decision prior to December 31, 2014, arising from (i) occupational accidents or illness, sickness, incapacity, or death; and (ii) obligations to insured employees, those covered by the general health security, and the insured's dependents. To benefit from this amnesty, the employer must apply to the Social Security Institution within three months from the end of the month in which the law is published, i.e. by the end of July, and pay the debts in accordance with the law.

Actions to consider

Companies should consider how these changes impact their operations and take appropriate steps to ensure compliance and determine whether they can take advantage of the incentives and amnesty available.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.