Turkish labour law

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Turkish labour law provides a number of protections to employees, governed by the Labor Code, Trade Union Law, and the Constitution.

Labor unions are legal in Turkey, and have been present since 1947. The Constitution of Turkey affirms the right of workers to form unions "without obtaining permission" and "to possess the right to become a member of a union and to freely withdraw from membership" (Article 51). Articles 53 and 54 affirm the right of workers to engage in collective bargaining and to strike, respectively. However, Turkish unions do face certain restrictions. A union must represent at least 10% of Turkish employees to be recognized as a bargaining agent, and workers in the education, national defense, sanitation, and utilities industries are banned from striking.[1]

The Labor Act of 2003 establishes a 45-hour workweek, and unless otherwise agreed upon, working time will be divided equally among days worked. With a written contract, work can be divided unequally among working days, but must not exceed 11 hours in a single day. Any work beyond 45 hours in a single week is considered overtime work, which is compensated with a raise of the hourly rate of the workers' salary by 50%. The total number of overtime hours worked may not exceed 270 hours a year. There are no standard workweeks or regulations for specific working hours in Turkey; employers may arrange the number of days and decide on the specific hours worked within the legal limits on work hours per week. The Labor Act bans discrimination based on sex, religion, or political affiliation, and mandates that employees should only be terminated with "valid cause". Those fired without what is deemed to be valid cause are entitled to be compensated through severance pay and "notice pay" for the employers' failure to provide adequate notice to the employee. The law also mandates that any employment arrangement lasting at least one year must be expressed in a written contract between the employer and employee.[2][3][4]

Full-time employees who have worked a minimum of one year are entitled to 14 working days' paid leave per year. This increases to 20 working days after 5 years, and 26 working days after 15 years. In addition, there are eight paid holidays per year (six public holidays and two periods of religious holidays).[4]

Turkish child labor law sets the minimum age for part-time employment at 13, on condition that it is not hard physical labor and they continue to attend school, and the minimum age for full-time employment at 15. In spite of this, illegal child labor is not uncommon, especially among poor families and in rural areas.[1]

Turkey is a member of the International Labour Organization, and a signatory to the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention and Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949.

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