ANNUAL VACATION PRINCIPLES IN TURKEY

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Principles of paid annual vacation are asset out in articles 53 and 62 of Labor Law, No. 4857, and in Regulation on Paid Annual Leave.

PLANNING ANNUAL VACATION IN THE WORKPLACE

In the establishments that have more than 100 employees planning must be done by “Annual Leave Committee” comprised of representatives of employers.

Employee should notify the employer at least one month before prior to the date employee want to start his/her vacation. Employer is not bounded with the start and end dates of the leave demanded by employee, and may determine different dates.

ENTITLEMENT

All employees who have worked for at least one year including the trail period are entitled to annual vacation. Vacation periods are as follows:

Length of Service                     Minimum Vacation 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.
  • 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.
  • Employees engaged in seasonal or other occupations which, owing to their nature, last less than one year are not entitled to paid annual leave.
  • Periods during which the employee has been employed in one or more workplaces of the same employer shall be considered jointly.
  • 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.

PAYMENT

Employee's wage, pertaining to the period of annual leave, must 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.

DIVIDING THE VACATION

According to latest amendment the leave periods may be divided by mutual consent, provided that one of the parts shall not be less than ten days. That means there will be no limitation as to the number of segments by which the leave can be used; employees will be allowed for more flexible use of their annual leave i.e. 10+1+2+1+1. That’s very handy to fill in the gaps between weekends and national holidays as seen in the above example.

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.

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 this 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.

ANNUAL VACATION OF SEAMEN

Seamen who have worked under same employer or in the same ship, based on one or more employment contract, at least six months within a calendar year will be entitled to annual leave. Calendar year means 1st January to 31st December of the year.

Period of annual vacation:

Leave periods cannot be less than;

  • 15 days for the seamen whose length of service between six months and one year,
  • One month for the seamen whose length of service is one year or over.

How to use:

  • Vacation should be taken at the date approved by the employer,
  • Annual vacation right cannot be waived,
  • And cannot be converted into wage unless in case of termination of employment contract.
  • Due but not yet used vacation periods must be paid to seamen as wage. Gross salary should be taken as a base.
  • Seamen may require to take unpaid leave for travel up to seven days,
  • Seamen cannot be forced to use their annual leave in a foreign port or in other than a place where employment contract concluded,

One month vacation can be divided into two by mutual consent, provided that both parts should be used within the same year.

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