Turkey 9 min

Employee benefits in Turkey: all you need to know

Written by Rhiannon Payne
Rhiannon Payne

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With a skilled workforce and an advanced economy, Turkey is an attractive place to find and hire top talent. 

But to attract the country’s best and brightest, you need to offer a compensation plan that is attractive, competitive, and — crucially — fully compliant with Turkish employment laws. After all, you don’t want to accidentally misclassify your people and face penalties and fines.

To save you time and streamline the process, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about employee benefits in Turkey. This guide will help you choose the most desirable benefits and then set them up and manage them — all while staying within the lines.

So let’s begin.

Who is entitled to benefits in Turkey?

In Turkey, all employees are entitled to employee benefits.

Employee rights are covered under the Turkish Labor Act, and supported by the Turkish Code of Obligations.

What about independent contractors?

Independent contractors are classed as self-employed, and — as in most countries — are not entitled to the same statutory benefits as employees.

You can still choose to offer benefits to any independent contractors that you’re working with, but be careful. If the authorities believe that you’re misclassifying contractors as employees (or vice versa), you could receive significant fines and penalties, and potentially even be restricted from doing business in Turkey.

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Statutory and common employee benefits

As in most countries, certain employee benefits — such as leave entitlement and minimum wage — are protected by law. As a minimum, you are required to provide:

Leave entitlements

In Turkey, employees who have completed one year of work are entitled to a minimum of 14 days of annual paid leave. This is in addition to eight paid public holidays, including New Year's Day, Labor Day, Victory Day, and Republic Day. Employees who have completed between five and 15 years of work receive a minimum of 20 days’ paid leave each year, while those with more than 15 years of service receive a minimum of 26 days. Turkish employees over the age of 50 are guaranteed a minimum of 20 days’ paid annual leave.

Note that leave payments are not distributed incrementally in Turkey. Instead, they are paid as a lump sum, usually before the employee takes their leave.

Maternity and paternity leave

Mothers are entitled to 16 weeks’ paid maternity leave (this is increased to 18 if they are carrying multiple children, or the pregnancy is high-risk).

It’s fairly common in Turkey for mothers to work part-time following the birth of their child, and this is reflected in Turkish law. As well as statutory maternity leave, mothers:

  • With one child can work part time for 60 days

  • With two children can work part time for 120 days

  • With three or more children can work part time for 180 days

  • Who have children with disabilities (or who adopt a child) can work part time for 360 days

Fathers are currently entitled to five days’ paid paternity leave.

Pension contributions

As an employer, you must contribute 11% of your payroll expense to Turkey’s public pension and disability schemes (employees contribute 9%).

Note that the pensionable age in Turkey is currently 60 for men and 58 for women, although this is projected to rise to 65 for both by 2036.

Minimum wage

As of 2023, Turkey's gross monthly minimum wage is ₺8,506.80 (around $400). This applies to all employees, no matter their industry, age, or level of experience.

Overtime

The standard working week in Turkey is 45 hours, usually split across five or six working days.

Overtime is paid at a rate of 150% of the employee’s regular hourly rate for each hour worked. Employees are not allowed to work more than 270 hours’ overtime in a year.

If employees work on weekends, they are entitled to a full extra day’s salary, plus 50% overtime. If your employees work on public holidays, they are also entitled to a full extra day’s salary. Note that employers require their employees’ consent to work on public holidays.

Health and unemployment insurance

As an employer, you must contribute 7.5% of your payroll expenditure to Turkey’s general health insurance scheme, and 2% to the unemployment insurance scheme (employees contribute 5% and 1% respectively).

Not all employees are entitled to sick pay in Turkey. However, most employees get one week of paid sick leave if they can produce a legitimate medical report.

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Supplemental benefits to consider for Turkish employees

The benefits listed so far are mandated by law. However, to attract and retain the best talent — and get a leg up on your competitors — you need to go beyond the basic requirements. This is where supplemental benefits come into play.

A robust, modern benefits stack can be a key decision-maker for potential hires, and ensures that your existing employees feel valued and motivated at your company.

Some of the most attractive benefits you can offer your Turkish workforce include:

Supplementary insurance

Across the world, it’s common for employers to supplement compulsory insurance with additional coverage, and Turkey is no different. For example, supplementary health insurance is a huge incentive for employees and their dependents, as it allows people to access private healthcare without having to pay the associated high premiums.

Supplementary pension schemes are less common in Turkey, although their popularity is increasing. This is due to recent law changes around individual retirement plans and group pension schemes.

Stipends and development programs

Your employees will either be telecommuting or working from home full-time, so consider providing allowances and stipends that support this unique working arrangement. For example, you can cover (or partially cover) home office supplies and equipment, or work with local coworking businesses to provide monthly allowances.

Additional soft benefits

You don’t need to break the bank to offer appealing, valuable benefits, especially if you’re a small business. You can easily customize soft, remote-tailored benefits, such as:

Flexibility in work hours

Genuine flexitime is invaluable for remote employees. A flexible or asynchronous schedule allows them to schedule their lives more efficiently, and ensures that they don’t have to work unsocial hours to align with a global team.

Increased team diversity

Globally distributed teams are, by nature, more diverse. This can easily become a selling point for remote employees who are interested in working with teammates from different cultures and with different viewpoints, and developing their cultural and interpersonal skills.

These kinds of benefits provide long-term value, and reflect positively on your employer brand. They show potential hires and existing employees that you are focused on investing in their engagement, and in tune with what makes their working situation unique.

How to set up and manage benefits for international employees

Once you’ve decided what your benefits stack is going to look like for your Turkish workforce, you need to put the wheels in motion. This is where things can start to get tricky.

First, you need to walk the tightrope between your employees’ needs and your in-house resources. If you’re a smaller organization trying to scale through outsourcing, you can easily get bogged down in costly benefits packages.

And then there’s the issue of compliance. If you accidentally fall foul of the rules along the way, you can incur fines and penalties, and significantly damage your growth.

When you then factor in the process of setting up payroll, managing leave entitlements, and getting to grips with the whole whirlpool of tax consequences and obligations... well, it can all start to get a little daunting.

Which is why it’s a good idea to let a global employment services provider — like Remote — do all the heavy lifting for you.

In particular, our employer of record (EOR) service allows you to quickly and conveniently manage all the intricacies of your Turkish operation, including:

  • Organizing payroll and leave

  • Distributing local employment taxes

  • Maintaining compliance with statutory and supplementary benefits

  • Offering competitive global compensation packages

  • Scaling your team

All you have to do is focus on hiring the right people for your organization, and our team of local, in-house, on-the-ground experts will guide you the rest of the way.

Staying compliant with Remote

There you have it. When it comes to offering benefits to your Turkey-based employees and new hires, it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.

However, Turkish employment laws can be complex and subject to change. This can make it difficult to know if your business is doing everything by the book.

To make sure you don’t encounter any nasty surprises, check out our detailed process for hiring and managing international employees. Not only will you save yourself time, headaches, and, potentially, a world of legal trouble, but you’ll be free to focus your energy on standing out in a competitive, remote-first world.

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