Finding Top Talent and recruiting in Türkiye can bring potential tripwires for companies taking steps to build their international profile. International companies targeting Türkiye for expansion and needing to recruit top talent for their plans must unravel significant amounts of red tape and strictly-applied legislation protecting employees’ rights and entitlements.

In Türkiye, employment legislation is primarily covered by the Constitution and the Labour Code, with statutory laws applying equally to Turkish and foreign nationals. Additionally, the Code of Obligations came into force in 2012, and many Codes apply to other areas of employment law. These cover social insurance, foreigners’ work permits, collective bargaining and workplace health and safety, among different categories. Employers must know that legislation applies statutory minimums to their employees’ compensation and benefits. These can also be changed by trade unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs), which can improve statutory minimums but not reduce them.

These complications highlight that recruiting in Türkiye is not straightforward, especially for foreign companies unfamiliar with the employment market. Employers must also employ five times as many Turkish workers as foreign workers (per location) unless they have applied for an exemption. This is where Bradford Jacobs’ global experience is vital for taking the smartest recruitment route into Türkiye. Bradford Jacobs’ platforms as a Professional Employer Organisation (PEO) have worldwide reach and include a total understanding of the complexities of the Turkish employment market. You can trust Bradford Jacobs to put the brightest talent in place for your company, preferably by recruiting from in-country.

Recruiting in Türkiye

Foreign companies finding their way through the recruitment process in Türkiye must cope with multi-layered bureaucracy and employment laws. These are weighted towards protecting the rights of employees – and are strictly applied by the authorities. Employment legislation is based on a mix of the Constitution of Türkiye (which officially changed its name from ‘Turkey’ in June 2022) and the Labour Code. A series of supplementary Codes apply to Work Permits for Foreigners, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and Workplace Health and Safety, as examples.

The recruitment process is the first stage of making your company operational and competitive in Türkiye. However, complications surround moving staff in and obtaining residence permits and work visas. To avoid these issues, knowing where to locate the finest recruits for your company’s International Expansion is vital.

Once recruited and onboarded, employers must comply with various procedures to ensure employees can legally work in Türkiye. The recruitment and onboarding process continues with these responsibilities:

  • Registering employees with the Social Security Institution (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, SSI or SGK) one day before the first day of employment at the latest. Newly-established companies have one month after incorporation to register employees.
  • Employees must be registered with the Turkish Revenue Administration (Gelir İdaresi Başkanliği GİB).
  • Verifying employees’ national identity number doubles as their Tax Identification Number (TIN). Foreigners in Türkiye for more than six months must obtain a TIN via the central taxpayer registry.

Employees' Legal Checks in Türkiye

Pre-hire checks are not subject to any specific legislation. They are commonly undertaken, but the candidate must permit those relating to criminal, credit and health background, political beliefs or memberships or ’sensitive’ personal data. Non-sensitive data, such as educational and work experience, can generally be obtained without the applicant’s consent, as employers can rely on this being necessary to ascertain suitability for the role.

Basic Facts when Recruiting in Türkiye

The main elements of legislation governing employment law in Türkiye are the Constitution, the Labour Code and the Code of Obligations. In addition, other Codes cover specific areas such as social insurance, foreigners’ work permits and workplace health and safety.

Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) and employment contracts can also improve statutory minimums under the law. Employers must take account of these basic facts on hiring when onboarding staff in Türkiye. They include the following:

  • Employees must be registered with the Social Security Institution (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, SSI or SGK) one day before the first day of employment at the latest and with the Turkish Revenue Administration (Gelir İdaresi Başkanliği GİB).
  • Written employment contracts are legally required when employing foreign employees; fixed-term contracts of at least one year’s duration; probation periods; those with a non-competition clause; on-call, teleworking and temporary workers.
  • Where a written contract is not mandatory under the reasons above, employers must provide the employee with a written agreement within two months of starting work. It must detail working conditions and hours, salary and payment schedule, and termination conditions.
  • Probation periods are generally for two months but can be extended to four months by CBAs.
  • Written contracts must be in Turkish if both parties are Turkish. Otherwise, they can be drafted in dual languages according to the nationality of either party. The Turkish version prevails in case of disputes.

After hiring and onboarding, employers must comply with the requirements of the Labour Code, Code of Obligations and other applicable Codes. Statutory minimum standards include wages, sick leave, working hours, maternity allowances, paid vacations, termination and severance, notice periods and social insurance payments. All of the statutory minimums can be improved by contracts or CBAs. Examples include the following:

  • Working hours are restricted to 45 a week under the Labour Code’s Working Time Regulations. Hours are usually divided equally between five working days unless agreed otherwise, in which case no single working day can exceed 11 hours.
  • Employees working 45 hours each week receive 50% above their regular hourly rate for extra hours. Those working fewer than 45 receive 25% extra until they exceed 45 hours when the 50% extra applies. Overtime cannot exceed 270 hours in a year under the Overtime Regulations Code.
  • Statutory maternity leave is 16 weeks, usually split equally before and after the due date/birth. If the employee’s good health is medically certified, they can work up to three weeks before the due date, taking unused leave in the post-natal period.


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