| Reading Time: 4 Minute(s)

What Are The Employment Contracts?

ERDAL ISBILIR SENA GUL

How Are Employment Contracts Defined?

An employment contract is a specific agreement in which an employee undertakes to work under the employer’s oversight, and the employer acknowledges to pay salary in return.

As a rule, employment contracts are not subject to any special form unless otherwise indicated by the law. There are various types of employment contracts that are accountable for the requirements. Nevertheless, the contracts to be made for a one-year period or more must be concluded in written form. In this article, the most common contract types are explained.

Employment Contracts and Various Types Under Turkish Labour Law

The employment contract constitutes the basis of labour law. The types of contracts parties can conclude are not limited to those listed in the labour law. The parties may also conclude any other types of employment contracts not contrary to the mandatory provisions of the law. The most important types of contract types used in practice are mentioned below.

What Are Full-Time and Part-Time Employment Contracts?

Employment contracts are generally made to be dependent on an employer for the entire weekly and daily working hours specified in the law. This is called a full-time employment contract.

In case the normal weekly working time of the worker is determined significantly less than the equivalent worker working with a full-time contract, the contract is a part-time employment contract. Accordingly, up to two-thirds of the equivalent work done with a full-time employment contract in the workplace is part-time work. For instance, working up to 30 hours in a workplace where 45 hours of working time is applied is part-time work.

Unless there is a reason justifying the separation, an employee employed on a part-time contract cannot be treated differently than an equal employee employed on a full-time contract, just because the employment contract is part-time.

The divisible interests of the part-time worker regarding wages and money are paid in proportion to the period of employment compared to the full-time equivalent worker. For this reason, employees working on a part-time contract benefit from payments such as bonuses, premiums, fuel allowance, food allowance, in proportion to the period of employment.

What Are Employment Contracts With a Probation Period?

Contracts that include an initial period, during which the parties reserve the decision whether to continue the contract or not, are called trial-term employment contracts.

The parties to the employment contract are free to conclude a trial-term employment contract. However, they cannot determine the length of the trial period as they wish. The Turkish labour law has limited the trial period imperative. Accordingly, the maximum trial period for permanent employment contracts is two months. However, this period can be extended up to four months with collective agreements.

The probationary period begins with the actual commencement of the employee.

Within the trial term, the parties are free to terminate the employment contract without observing the notice term and paying compensation. The employee’s entitlement to wages and other rights for the days worked is reserved.

What Are Employment Contracts in Continual and Transitory Work?

The criterion in the differentiation between continual and transitory contracts is whether the job is continuous or not. So, the contracts concluded for impermanent works are called transitory employment contracts. Other contracts are called continual (permanent) employment contracts.

Employment Contracts For a Definite Term (Fixed Term) and For an Indefinite Term (Open-Ended Term)

Suppose the parties of the employment contract have explicitly or implicitly agreed that the employment contract will be effective for a certain period. In that case, this employment contract is a fixed-term employment contract. If the employment relationship is not based on a period, the contract would be an indefinite-term employment contract.

In principle, employment contracts are of indefinite duration. The labour law clearly states this principle with the provision that “an employment contract is deemed to have been made for an indefinite period where the employment relationship is not based on a fixed term”.

A fixed-term employment contract can only be made in fixed-term jobs or depending on objective conditions such as completing a certain job or emerging a certain phenomenon.

An employment contract concluded without objective reasons requiring a fixed-term employment contract should be regarded as an indefinite-term employment contract. However, there are also cases where the law arises the obligation to make a fixed-term employment contract. An obligation arising from the law can be accepted as an objective reason for concluding a fixed-term employment contract.

What Is The Difference Between Fixed-Term Employment Contracts and Indefinite-Term Employment Contracts?

The importance of the differentiation between fixed-term and indefinite-term employment contracts arises in implementing some labour law provisions. For instance, indefinite-term contracts are not subject to any form, but fixed-term employment contracts must be concluded in writing.

In fixed-term employment contracts, the employee whose contract is terminated due to the expiration of the term cannot be entitled to severance. However, in indefinite-term employment contracts, if the conditions ensured in the labour law are met, the employee would be entitled to severance pay.

Also, the provisions regarding job security do not apply to workers working on fixed-term employment contracts.

The labour law ensures that fixed-term employment contracts cannot be made more than once in a row (chain) unless there is an (essential) fundamental reason. Otherwise, the employment contract is considered indefinite from the beginning.

Unless there is a reason justifying the separation, an employee employed on a fixed-term contract cannot be treated differently than an equal employee employed on an indefinite-term contract, just because the employment contract is temporary.

Divisible interests regarding wages and money to be paid to an employee working on a fixed-term employment contract are given in proportion to the time the employee works.


Here is an article that might interest you for further reading: Obtaining a Work Permit in Turkey.