In this article, we will briefly discuss the distinction between students who can be considered as interns according to the law and students who cannot considered as interns, as well as the possible consequences of this differentiation.

(i) Students Who Can Be Considered as Interns:

  • In order for students to be considered as interns, they
    1. must be subjected to a compulsory internship during their vocational high school or higher education (university) studies and complete their internships accordingly, or
    2. In the case of students who are not subject to compulsory internships, they need to obtain a letter of approval for their internship from their affiliated educational institution and proceed with their internship based on that.
  • Both for compulsory and non-compulsory internships, the payment of Social Security Institution ("SSI") premiums for students will be covered by the educational institution. Whether or not students receive a salary will depend on the employer's decision.
  • However, it should be noted that if the interns to work are considered within the scope of Law No. 3308 on Vocational Education ("Law") and if the internship includes the technical training specified in the Law, the employer will be required to pay a certain salary to the students. Therefore, it would be beneficial for the employer to examine whether the internship subject falls within the scope of the Law in order to determine whether the internship is covered by the provisions of the Law. The salary to be paid to interns who are considered within the scope of the Law shall not be less than (i) 30% of the net amount of the minimum wage if 20 or more employees work in the said company, (ii) 15% of the net minimum wage if less than 20 employees work in the said company, (iii) for the candidate apprentices and apprentices, 30% of the net amount of the minimum wage appropriate for their age and (iv) 50% of the net amount of the minimum wage for 12th grade students of vocational training centers who have earned the qualification of journeyman.

(ii) Students Who Will Not Be Considered as Interns:

  • If a student;
    1. has not been subjected to compulsory internships by their vocational high school or university, or
    2. even if s/he does not have a compulsory internship, s/he has not obtained written eligibility approval from her/his affiliated educational institution, or
    3. if s/he is working as a voluntary intern in an institution without any obligation such a student will not be considered as an intern.
  • In this case, the student will be considered as a regular employee (subject to the Labor Law), and the employer will be required to treat the student as a regular employee and fulfill its obligations accordingly. The rights and responsibilities applicable to regular employees, such as working hours, wages, benefits, and legal protections, will be applicable to the student in this context.
  • In this context, the relevant students who will be considered as employees will have to be paid by the employer a salary that will not be below the minimum wage, and the SSI premiums of the said students will also have to be paid by the employer, even if they work for just one day.

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.