Being connected constitutes overtime work

Currently, Turkish Labour Law ("Law") and court precedents do not specifically recognise an employee's right to disconnect. When an employee remains connected, and continues to perform work with electronic devices after regular working hours, this employee is effectively performing overtime work.

The Law regulates overtime work in detail, and an employer can request that employees remain connected outside their regular working hours only under certain conditions.

According to the Law, the maximum working time for full-time employees is 45 hours per week and 11 hours per day. Unless otherwise agreed upon between employee and employer, every day of the week except Sunday is considered a working day. An employer may ask an employee to work during weekdays and Saturdays, as long as the working hours remain within weekly and daily limits.

Work exceeding the weekly 45 hour limit is deemed overtime. The Law generally allows employers to request overtime work without additional compensation if employees have given written consent under the original employment agreement or a separate one. Even in such cases, however, overtime work is limited to 270 hours per year. Furthermore, employees who receive minimum wage must both consent to and be compensated for any overtime work, and 270 hours of overtime work without additional compensation cannot be included in their employment agreements.

Where an employee and employer have not agreed to include the 270 hours into their employment agreement or where the overtime work performed by an employee exceeds the 270 hour limit, the employee is entitled to receive overtime payment. In this case, the payment for each hour of overtime is 150% of the employee's gross hourly rate during regular working hours. For any work performed on Sundays, the employee is entitled to 250% of his gross hourly rate during the regular working day.

Where overtime work is performed, employees may also opt to receive time off in lieu of overtime pay. The employee is then granted 90 minutes off for each hour of overtime.

Finally, where the work performed by an employee exceeds the daily 11 hour limit, this qualifies as "excessive work," which could result in the employer receiving a monetary fine. Furthermore, if an employee suffered an occupational accident due to excessive work, the employer could also face criminal or civil liability.

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.