The Legal Basis for the Turkish Labour Law

August 20, 2021by Bünyamin Esen0

Employment law in Turkey applies to Turkish and foreign nationals. Special provisions exist which regulate the employment and residence permits of foreign nationals who intend to work in Turkey.

The main pieces of employment-related legislation applicable to both Turkish Nationals and Foreign Nationals are the:

  • Turkish Constitution
  • Turkish Labour Code (No. 4857) published in the Official Gazette dated 22 May 2003 and numbered 25134
  • Turkish Code of Obligations (No. 6098) published in the Official Gazette dated 4 February 2012 and numbered 27836, which entered into force on 1 July 2012
  • Social Insurance and General Health Insurance Code (No. 5510) published in the Official Gazette dated 16 June 2006 and numbered 26200
  • Code of Work Permits for Foreigners (No. 4817) published in the Official Gazette dated 6 March 2003 and numbered 25040
  • Code on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining (No. 6536) published in the Official Gazette dated 7 November 2012 and numbered 28460
  • Workplace Health and Safety Code (No. 6331) published in the Official Gazette dated 30 June 2012 and numbered 28339
  • Maritime Labour Law numbered 854
  • Press and Media Labour Law numbered 5953
  • Turkish Code of Obligations numbered 6098 (the “TCO”)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Law numbered 6331
  • Labour Courts Act numbered 7036
  • Court of Appeal’s Assembly of Civil Chambers decisions on the unification of the conflicting judgments.

The purpose of the Turkish Labour Act is to regulate the working conditions and work-related rights and obligations of employers and employees working under an employment contract. The Labour Law shall apply to all the establishments, employers, and employees.

In Practice

Recruitment and Selection

Methods and practices

The recruitment and selection process is subject to regulations and specific requirements for work permits. There are only relatively limited, general rules related to discrimination and data protection. Particular recruitment and selection methods and practices are not specifically regulated or prohibited. All employees generally have to provide evidence about their criminal records and pass a medical examination.

The Employment Organisation of Turkey and the private employment agencies are responsible for acting as an intermediary in providing employees with jobs suitable to their qualifications and in finding employees qualified for different kinds of work for employers.


The Turkish Labour Law prohibits any discrimination that prejudices equal opportunity employment and equal access to jobs, though without specifying any particular grounds (sex, race, age, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, etc) on which such discrimination is unlawful. A Ministerial Decree stipulates that employers must not discriminate against individuals with special needs or disabilities in recruitment and selection.

Employers must consider using a variety of channels to advertise vacancies and to receive job applications in order to include people with special needs. They must also consider adapting their selection procedures to give applicants with special needs the opportunity to demonstrate their capacities (ie giving them more time in interviews).

Probationary periods

The employment contract includes a trial clause known as the probation period.

The duration of the probation period is two months extendable up to four months by collective agreement between the employer and the employee.

During the probationary period, the employee is not entitled to benefit from any type of leave as well as the sick leave. If the employee requires taking any leave, it will be considered as unpaid leave.

During the probation period, the parties are free to terminate the employment contract without prior notice and without having to pay compensation. The employee’s entitlement to wages and other rights for the days worked is reserved.

If the employee successfully completes the probationary period, it must be considered as part of the employee’s period of continuous service with the employer.


Bünyamin Esen

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