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Employee Termination in Turkey – A Guide for Overseas Employers

Not every employee on assignment or hired in a foreign country will work out as planned, and we assist our clients in navigating the local laws on termination when that becomes necessary.  The best outcome is if the termination is agreed to by the employee, but in some cases other options are needed.

One Shield GEO client in Turkey needed information on performance management and termination for their employees in that country.  This is a common request that we receive from our clients since many countries have very strict termination laws to protect workers.

In Turkey, termination without cause is not a good option, and unless there is a good reason the courts will favor any objection by the employee.  There are however, two other methods available, termination by mutual agreement and termination with cause.

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Termination by Mutual Agreement in Turkey

This was the best option that we gave to our client, where the employee agrees to resign under some mutually beneficial agreement.  They may realize the assignment or position is not for them, and be relieved to end their employment.  To get them to sign an agreement might require some type of final compensation or bonus, but it can be worth it since they will be waiving their right to contest the termination legally.

Termination With Cause in Turkey

If the employee does not agree to resign, then there is the final option of termination with cause, based on either 1) valid business reasons, or 2) non-performance of job duties.

Business Reasons: This is quite simple and just requires the client to say the position is ending in Turkey and will not be active again in the country.  There is still a required notice period to let the employee know the position is ending.

With Cause:  Termination with cause requires a fair amount of documentation, including three written warnings and evidence of attempts to improve employee performance.  There are few important details to follow, such as the letters must be written in Turkish, on the letterhead of the local employer of record and carrying an official stamp.

For our clients, we can make the letters in both English and Turkish, and will follow client instructions on the type of language to use about the Performance Improvement Plan.  The client also reviews the letter before the employee receives it.

Summary of Notice Periods in Turkey

Regardless of the type of termination (except by agreement) there are minimum required notice periods in Turkey.  These must be followed, and we assist our clients in making sure they are in compliance.

The notice period depends on length of employment:

  • Less than 6 months = two weeks notice
  • 6 months to 1.5 years = four weeks notice
  • 1.5 to 3 years = six weeks notice
  • More than 3 years = eight weeks notice

Need More Information About Turkey?

Termination in Turkey can be difficult to navigate. This is just one example of how our clients benefit from our local EOR and expertise in host country employment laws. There are so many distinctions between countries that our clients do not want to handle on their own, and we make sure that they are in compliance and able to focus on their business activity.

If you need more information about Turkey, we can help you answer questions like:

  • What reasons can be used on legitimate grounds to terminate an employee?
  • How to calculate my employee’s severance pay in Turkey?

We make international employment simple, in the areas of payroll, immigration and legal compliance.

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