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Sick Leave in Turkey: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Looking to hire an employee in Turkey? Here’s what you need to know about sick leave in Turkey. A client of ours with staff on assignment in Turkey came to us with questions about the sick leave rules in that country.  Because their employees are on payroll with Shield GEO’s employer of record, Turkish employment laws would be applied to the leave procedures.  This is important to remember if you are used to the rules in your home country but are assigning staff abroad where there may be different laws.

Sick leave in Turkey covers temporary incapacity due to illness, work accidents and maternity leave for women.  Here are the general guidelines:

Employer Payments

The first two days of sick leave are not covered; in other words, the employee is not entitled to any payments by the company or the government.  Nonetheless in practice, most companies will voluntarily make those payments to support the employee and prevent loss of wages.

SSI Payments

Beginning on the third day, SSI (Social Security) covers the employee for two-thirds of their daily salary for outpatient illnesses, and one half of daily salary for inpatient.  This is a unique feature of Turkish employment law that may be new to some foreign companies. 

Those payments are made directly to the employee, in case the employer wont pay them while they are absent from work.  The challenge is that SSI will not make those payments to the employee for up to two months, which places the employer in the position of choosing to make payment to the employee in the interim (if at all).

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How We Advised Our Client

Most foreign companies with staff on assignment will still pay them when they are sick or injured.  We told our client that the simplest method would be to simply continue to pay the employee their regular salary during their sick leave, without any adjustment (unless they want to reduce the salary based on the percentage of owed SSI payment). 

Then, when the employee receives their SSI payment, they can refund it directly to the employer.  This means that the employer basically ‘funds’ the sick leave payments in advance for the employee and relies on the employee to make a prompt refund when the SSI payment is received.

The Shield GEO Solution

Our clients with staff abroad rely on Shield GEO’s in-country experts for information and insights just like in this example, saving them potential compliance and payroll problems.  Our local employer of record can handle the wide range of issues facing an HR department with staff on assignment, and will oversee all matters related to immigration, employment and payroll regulations.

Since most countries have differing employment laws it is essential to have an experienced partner when deploying staff, and Shield GEO is prepared to make international employment simple for your company.

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