Comparative Guides

Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.

Our Comparative Guides provide an overview of some of the key points of law and practice and allow you to compare regulatory environments and laws across multiple jurisdictions.

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4. Results: Answers
Labour and Employment
2.
Employment rights and representations
2.1
What, if any, are the rights to parental leave, at either a national or local level?
Turkey

Answer ... Parental leave is outlined in question 2.2. This leave applies to all employees working under the Turkish Labour Code.

For more information about this answer please contact: Batuhan Sahmay from Bener Law Office
2.2
How long does it last and what benefits are given during this time?
Turkey

Answer ... Maternity and pregnancy rights and benefits: Pregnant employees are entitled to eight weeks of leave before and after birth (16 weeks in total). In the case of multiple births (eg, twins), two weeks are added to the eight weeks of leave before pregnancy. If the employee gives birth prematurely, the remaining maternity leave before birth is added to the post-birth maternity leave. Such periods may be extended only where a doctor’s certificate confirms that it would be dangerous for the employee to work.

If the pregnant employee so desires, she may continue working up to three weeks before the birth, where a doctor’s certificate confirms that this is possible. In such cases the employee will be entitled to leave for up to 13 weeks after the birth.

Pregnant employees shall also be given paid leave to attend periodic medical check-ups during pregnancy.

During maternity leave, the employee will receive temporary incapacity payments from the Social Security Institution; therefore, the employer is not obliged to pay the employee’s salary.

Once the post-birth leave has ended, the employer must provide a further six months of unpaid leave at the employee’s request.

It is obligatory to provide breastfeeding leave of up to 1.5 hours per day to employees after giving birth, until the baby is one year old. The periods given for breastfeeding leave are to be determined by the employee. If the employee so desires, she may use this period for breastfeeding leave several times a day by dividing up the 1.5 hours accordingly. Periods used for breastfeeding leave will be recognised as employment periods.

An employee who is pregnant or who recently gave birth and is breastfeeding cannot work night shifts or for more than 7.5 hours per day.

Following the end of their statutory maternity leave, female employees can request unpaid leave for half of their weekly working time for a 60-day period in relation to the birth of their first child. This is increased to 120 days in relation to the birth of their second child, and to 180 days in relation to the birth of their third child and any subsequent births. In the case of multiple births, 30 days is added to the relevant leave period. Where a child is disabled from birth, this period is increased to 360 days. During this period, an employee is paid by the employer only for the hours that she works, but may be entitled to social security benefits.

A female employee may request to work part time at any point from the date on which the maternity leave or the unpaid leave mentioned above ends until the beginning of the month following the date on which her child’s compulsory primary education starts. This request is not subject to the employer’s approval, except in certain fields of work (eg, some work performed in private health institutions). In order to request part-time employment, the spouse of the female employee must also be in work and not be unemployed.

Maternity leave is available only to biological mothers and not adoptive mothers. However, both male and female employees who adopt a child are entitled to three days of paid leave.

Paternity leave: A male employee whose spouse has given birth is entitled to five days of paid leave. If the mother dies during childbirth or following the birth, the father can use her remaining statutory postnatal maternity leave.

Carer’s leave: An employee who is the parent of a child with a severe disability (involving incapacity of at least 70%) or a chronic disease is entitled to take up to 10 days of paid leave per year to care for the child. Only one of the parents may take the leave, which may be taken in a single block or in parts.

Parental leave: As long as both parents work, by giving one month’s notice, one of the parents of a child is entitled to request part-time employment from the end of the mother’s maternity leave until the beginning of the month in which the child’s compulsory primary education starts. This right is also available in relation to the adoption of a child who is less than three years old.

In relation to the adoption of a child who is less than three years old, one of the parents can take eight weeks of paid parental leave from the date of the child’s placement. This can be followed by up to six months of unpaid leave.

Following the end of the statutory parental leave period, either adoptive parent can request unpaid leave for half of his or her weekly working time for a 60-day period in relation to the adoption of his or her first child. This is increased to 120 days in relation to the adoption of a second child, and to 180 days in relation to the adoption of a third child and any subsequent adoptions. In the case of multiple adoptions, 30 days is added to the relevant leave period. Where a child is disabled at the point of adoption, this period is increased to 360 days. During this period, an employee is paid by the employer only for the hours that he or she works, but may be entitled to social security benefits.

For more information about this answer please contact: Batuhan Sahmay from Bener Law Office
2.3
Are trade unions recognised and what rights do they have?
Turkey

Answer ... Trade unions are recognised under Turkish labour law.

Pursuant to the legislation, a union is a legal entity which is established by at least seven employees (employee union) or seven employers (employer union), in order to preserve and develop the common economic and social rights and benefits of employees oemployers in relation to their work relations in one business line.

Real and legal persons have the right to establish a union; however, persons who have been sentenced due to embezzlement, commitment, bribery, theft, fraud, forgery, breach of confidence, fraudulent bankruptcy, collusive tendering, scheme of execution of act, absolution of asset values arising from crime or smuggling cannot establish unions.

People over the age of 15 who are considered as employees can become members of employee unions. People who are considered as employers can be members of employer unions.

Employees and employers cannot be members of more than one union in the same business line at the same time. However, employees who work in the same business line at the workplaces of separate employers can be a member of more than one union. If the employees and employers become members of more than one union in contradiction with the above, the subsequent memberships will become invalid.

The statutory role of workplace trade union representatives is to:

  • hear employees’ requests and handle their grievances;
  • maintain cooperation and harmony at work, and peaceful relations between employees and employers;
  • protect employees’ rights and interests; and
  • assist in the application of the employment conditions provided for in employment legislation and collective agreements.

Employers are under no statutory obligation to inform and/or consult employees or employee representatives about general business or employment matters. There is no statutory system of works councils or elected employee representatives with a general information and consultation role.

Where a trade union is officially authorised as competent to conclude a collective agreement for a workplace or enterprise, the employer must inform and consult the union’s representatives about planned collective redundancies.

For more information about this answer please contact: Batuhan Sahmay from Bener Law Office
2.4
How are data protection rules applied in the workforce and how does this affect employees’ privacy rights?
Turkey

Answer ... Employers are obliged to treat any type of information regarding their employees to which they gain access with integrity and in accordance with the law; and not to disclose any employee information which the employee has a justifiable interest in keeping secret. Additionally, employers are under a specific obligation to keep health data arising from employees’ medical examinations confidential.

Employers may use employee information where this is necessary for their employment.

Employers are obliged to comply with Turkish data protection legislation regarding the processing of personal data (eg, they must provide employees with relevant information as per the law and take necessary precautions to safeguard such data).

Personal data must not be transmitted abroad without the express consent of the employee, unless one of the exceptions apply - for example, where the retention of personal data is expressly stipulated by law or the personal data has been made public by the relevant employee. Additionally, personal data must not be transferred abroad, unless:

  • sufficient protection is afforded in the country where the personal data is to be transmitted (as determined by the Board for the Protection of Personal Data); or
  • if there is not sufficient protection, the data controller in Turkey and the data importer abroad have entered into a written agreement to undertake to provide an adequate level of protection, which has been approved by the Board for the Protection of Personal Data.

Personal data must be deleted, destroyed or anonymised when there is no longer any lawful reason to retain or process it.

Employees have certain rights in relation to personal data processed by their employer, as follows:

  • the right to acknowledge whether their personal data is being processed;
  • the right to request information on the processing, where their personal data is being processed;
  • the right to acknowledge the purpose of processing and whether their personal data is being used in accordance with such purpose;
  • the right to know the identity of any third parties to which the personal data is transmitted, both at home and abroad;
  • if their personal data is processed wrongfully or deficiently, the right to request corrections and to request notification of transactions performed in this respect to third parties to which such data has been transferred;
  • the right to request the deletion or disposal of their personal data where the reasons for processing no longer exist, even where the personal data is being processed in compliance with Turkish data protection law and other relevant laws, and to request notification of transactions performed in this regard by third parties to which the personal data has been transferred;
  • the right to object to the occurrence of a circumstance against the interests of the data subject as a result of analysis of the processed data exclusively by automatic systems; and
  • the right to request compensation for damages incurred due to the unlawful processing of personal data.

For more information about this answer please contact: Batuhan Sahmay from Bener Law Office
2.5
Are contingent worker arrangements specifically regulated?
Turkey

Answer ... No, contingent worker arrangements are not regulated under Turkish labour law.

For more information about this answer please contact: Batuhan Sahmay from Bener Law Office
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Labour and Employment