Effect of Unpaid Leave on Annual Vacation Calculation

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Annual vacation –also called paid annual leave- is a right given to employees to have a rest within a year. Leave periods usually depend on the length of service.

On the other hand employees may take unpaid leaves for various reasons that may be statutory or arisen from employee’s personal needs.

The unpaid leaves may affect the computation of the length of service required to qualify for paid annual leave differently. As a rule, unpaid leaves are not taken into consideration in the calculation of employee’s seniority, i.e. these periods are deemed as non-worked days.

For example: Employee’s employment start date is 10 October 2017.  If he uses 10 days unpaid leave, his entitlement to annual vacation will start in 20 October of 2018.


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 specified Articles 53 and 62 of Labor Law, No. 4857.

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.


Unpaid leaves are not clearly defined and arranged in Turkish legislation. Turkish Labor Law 4857 contains two types of unpaid leave:

  • Upon their request, 6 months unpaid leave will be granted for the female employee after the expiration of statutory maternity leave and for the married couples who adopted a child under three years of age. Labor Law, article 74 reads as follows; “if the female employee so wishes, she shall be granted an unpaid leave of up to six months after the expiry of the sixteen weeks, or in the case multiple pregnancy, after the expiry of the eighteen weeks indicated above. This period shall not be considered in determining the employee’s one year of service for entitlement to annual leave with pay.” In other words, employee’s next annual leave right entitlement date will be delayed 6 months.
  • Employees are also allowed to take up to 4 (four) days unpaid leave, on 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. (Labor Law, article 56). These travel periods are not considered as worked days; and next entitlement date will be delayed accordingly as in the above case.


After the expiration of statutory maternity leave, for the purpose of taking care of and upbringing the child, and on condition that baby is born alive,

  • working women
  • may be given upon their request, unpaid leave of half of the weekly working time
  • up to the periods of 60 days on first childbirth,
  • 120 days on second
  • and 180 days for the third child.
  • In case of multiple births one month will be added to those periods. This period will be applied as 360 days in case of child was born with disability. (Article 74 of Law No. 4857)


The above mentioned half day periods are considered as worked days; and don’t affect the calculation of the length of service required to qualify for paid annual leave, i.e. date of annual vacation entitlement will not be delayed because of above half day unpaid leaves.

As a matter of fact above mentioned non-worked hours are covered by Unemployment Fund.

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