The Regulation on Part-time Work following Maternity Leave or Unpaid Leave (the "Regulation") was published in the Official Gazette numbered 29882 on 8 November 2016. The Regulation stipulates the terms and conditions for part-time work following the birth or adoption of a child. The Regulation allows both female and male employees to benefit from the part-time work option.

The Turkish labour legislation mandates maternity leave for female employees in the amount of 8 weeks before and 8 weeks after giving birth (16 weeks in total). Part-time work is defined as work equivalent to up to 2/3 of the full-time work in a workplace. The Regulation foresees that an employee may request to work part-time at any time after the end of a maternity leave/unpaid leave period, until his/her child starts elementary school. The unpaid leave previously mentioned refers to the leave to which a female employee is entitled following the end of her maternity leave and the leave a female/male employee is entitled to for the duration of half of his/her weekly working time in case of adopting a child younger than 3 years.

The part-time work request should be notified to the employer in writing 1 month prior to the start of the part-time arrangement. The commencement date of the part-time work, working hours (in case the part-time work will be conducted on each business day) or the preferred working days (in case the part-time work will be conducted on certain days of the week) should be indicated in the notice given to the employer. Further, a document establishing that the spouse of the employee has been working should also be attached to the request, because the Regulation states that an employee cannot request part-time work if his/her spouse does not work, except in the specific circumstances set out in the Regulation (e.g. if one of the spouses has a disease which requires full time treatment).

The employer must implement the part-time work request within 1 month and inform the employee in writing accordingly. In the event that the employer fails to respond in due time, the employee can generally commence working on a part-time basis without waiting for the response of the employer. However, in certain circumstances specified in the Regulation, an employee cannot start to work part-time without the approval of the employer (e.g. industrial work performed in successive shifts, seasonal work performed for a period of less than 1 year, full-time work performed as a responsible manager, responsible doctor or with any other position that may be considered within the scope of health services).

An employee who has transitioned to working on a part-time basis may return to working full-time by informing the employer in writing 1 month beforehand of this change. The employee cannot then exercise again the right to work part-time on the basis of responsibilities for the same child. The salary and benefits of the employee shall be paid in proportion to the time the employee has worked part-time.

Overall, the Regulation aims to create a supportive working environment for employees in line with the recent EU regulations promoting a more flexible approach to employment.

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.