All about Annual Vacation in Turkey

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Paid annual leave is arranged between Articles 53 and 62 of Labor Law, No. 4857, and relevant procedures and principles are set out by the Regulation on Paid Annual Leave.

Who Decides Who is Taking Vacation and When?

For workplaces employing more than 100 employees it is obligatory to constitute an “Annual Leave Committee,” comprised of representatives of employers and authorized for planning paid annual leave. Planning may be made by employers or employers’ representatives or persons authorized by them in other establishments.

Written requests for entitled paid annual leave should be submitted to the employer at least one month prior to the date at which employee wish to start his/her paid leave.

Employer is not bounded with the start and end dates of the leave demanded by employee, and may determine different dates by taking into account the continuity and regularity of operations in general, order of precedence as regard to seniority, or the special issues pertaining to employer's workplace. But that does not mean employee cannot take his/her paid annual leave in the relevant year.

How Many Days of Annual Paid Leave Should be Given in a Year?

All employees who have worked for at least one year including the probation period are entitled to paid annual leave; and leave periods, which are determined according to employee's length of service, may not be shorter than the durations herein below:

Length of Service Minimum Leave Period

1 to 5 years (included) 14 working days

5 to 15 years 20 working days

15 years (included) or longer 26 working days

· Paid annual leave may not be less than 20 days for employees under the age of 18 or over the age of 50.

· In addition, employees are also allowed to take up to 4 (four) days' leave without pay, on the condition that the employee provides documentary evidence that s/he is spending his/her annual leave at a place other than where the work place is located.

· Other kinds of leave, with or without pay, granted by the employer during the year or taken by the employee as convalescent or sick leave shall not be deducted from annual leave.

· Employees engaged in seasonal or other occupations which, owing to their nature, last less than one year are not entitled to paid annual leave.

· Employees’ paid leave entitlements and the leaves taken should be recorded and the documents in respect to leaves must be signed with both employee and employer.

How to Calculate the Length of Service?

In the computation of the length of service required to qualify for paid annual leave, the periods during which the employee has been employed in one or more workplaces of the same employer shall be considered jointly.

Can Employees Waive Their Rights of Vacation or Work During the Annual Leave?

An employee neither can waive his right of vacation nor can s/he engage in gainful employment during this period. Otherwise they may be asked by their employer to reimburse the annual leave remuneration paid in advance.

Remuneration of Annual Leave?

According to Article 57 of Labor Law, employee's wage, pertaining to the period of annual leave, should be paid in advance or by raising an advance payment prior to commencement of the leave.

The annual leave remuneration of employees who are not paid daily, monthly or weekly but who are remunerated according to an indefinite period of time or amount of money, such as a piece-rate, commission, profit sharing or percentage, must be calculated on their average daily earnings by dividing the total wages earned during the previous year by the number of days actually worked during that year.

If the employee has been granted a raise in pay within the previous year, the annual leave remuneration shall be computed by dividing the total wages earned between the date of the month in which the employee uses his leave and the date when his pay was raised by the number of days worked within that period.

For employees working on a percentage basis, remuneration for annual leave must be paid by the employer in addition to any amount of money derived from current percentage earnings.

Are National Holidays, Weekly Rest Days and Public Holidays Included in Paid Annual Leave?

National holidays, weekly rest days and public holidays that coincide with the duration of paid annual leave may not be included in the annual leave period.

As an example, an employee starting his/her 7 days’ vacation on Monday should get back to work on next Tuesday (instead of next Monday), as the Sunday, being a weekly rest day, is not considered within the paid annual leave period and one day is added to vacation. Practice is likewise for the other official public holidays.

Is It Possible to Divide the Paid Annual Leave?

As a rule, the leave must be granted without interruption and it cannot be divided by the employer. However, leave periods may, by mutual consent, be divided into a maximum of three parts, provided that one of the segments shall not be less than 10 days.

Can Employers Force Their Personnel to Take Annual Leave?

Yes, even though employee doesn't wish to use his entitled paid leave in the leave year, employer has the right to have the employee use the leave. Otherwise this will be infringement of Labor Law on behalf of Employer.

Being forced to use the annual leave in the entitled year doesn't give the employee the right of terminating employment contract.

Can an Employer Refuse His Employee's Vacation Request?

Employer is not bounded with the start and end dates of the leave demanded by employee, and may determine different dates by taking into account the continuity and regularity of operations in general, order of precedence as regard to seniority, or the special issues pertaining to employer's workplace.

But that does not mean employee cannot take his/her paid annual leave in the relevant year.

In case the employer prevents the employee's right to use his annual leave within the leave year that will constitute a just cause for the employee to terminate employment contract.

Can Unused Vacation Convert into Wage?

As a rule annual leave should be used in the relevant leave year. However, in practice some employees, for some reasons, may prefer to carry forward their annual leave to coming years, and they can use it in the following years.

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