Turkey: New Law to Expand Contract Work, Telecommuting

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By Jenny David

May 24—Extensive amendments to Labor Law 4857 and Labor Institution Law 4094, aimed at increasing the number of temporary and part-time workers in Turkey and decreasing the growing number of unregistered workers throughout the economy, took effect May 20 with their publication in the Official Gazette.

The amendments for the first time provide for the establishment of private employment agencies through which companies will be able to indirectly hire workers for periods of up to eight months, after which the company will be considered the worker's permanent employer.

Employers will pay the temporary workers' salaries and social security benefits through these agencies, making the agencies the workers' formal employers.

Unauthorized private employment agencies will be subject to administrative fines, as will authorized companies not upholding the employment provisions of the amended law.

Unions Oppose Move

A number of leading unions, including the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey and the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, strongly oppose the new regulations, calling the new system “slavery-like” and arguing that it violates the European Convention on Human Rights.

The unions—which succeeded in blocking similar legislation approved by the parliament in 2009—say the changes will worsen working conditions and reduce job security.

Deputy Undersecretary of Labor Ali Kemal Sayin, however, said the legislative amendment was needed to bring Turkey into line with European Union and International Labor Organization directives.

Turkey's job market “needs flexibility,” Sayin told an Istanbul University conference in March. “Rigid rules cause negativity.”

Temporary Employment Defined

Under the new provisions, temporary employment relationships may be established in cases of:

  •   replacement of workers on maternity, parental, annual or unpaid leave;
  •   seasonal agricultural labor;
  •   home services;
  •   periodic employment not considered the company's primary business;
  •   urgent employment related to job security or force majeur (such as natural disasters) that considerably affects production; and
  •   a significant increase in the company's workload.


In addition:

  •  contracts can have a maximum duration of four months, must be in writing and may be renewed twice;
  •  the number of temporary workers cannot exceed one-quarter of a company's total workforce in any four-month period;
  •  employees whose contracts have been terminated may not be rehired by the same company for a period of six months;
  •  temporary workers and union representatives must be informed of other job vacancies in the workplace; and
  •  employees continuing to work for the same employer after their contracts expire will be considered full employees for an unlimited period.


The new legislation also bans temporary employment relations in workplaces undergoing a labor dispute which has reached the strike and lock-out stage, in a period of collective redundancy, in state institutions and organizations and in underground mining operations.

Private employment agencies will be jointly responsible with the employers for the workers' occupational health, safety and training.

Telecommuting Added

In a separate amendment, Turkey for the first time defines and provides for “on-call employment and telecommuting” through which “the employee performs his/her service at home or out of the office via telecommunication devices, within the work organization created by the employer.” The amendment requires equal treatment for contract workers in compensation, equipment and occupational health and safety precautions.

The application procedures and principles of telecommuting will be determined by further regulations to be issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

To contact the reporter on this story, Jenny David at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

For More Information

The revised regulations are available in Turkish here.

For more information on Turkish HR law and regulation, see the Turkey primer.