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Paid Leave Rights – What are the Employee Entitlements

Nov 16, 2023

HBL > News > Article > Paid Leave Rights – What are the Employee Entitlements

An employee is entitled to paid leave. According to the Labor Law, paid leave constitutes paid days off or the right to be absent from work with wage compensation. Below, you will find more information about the employee entitlements during paid leave and the circumstances under which an employee has the right to paid leave.


1. Under What Circumstances is an Employee Entitled to Paid Leave?


According to the Labor Law, every employee has the right to take paid leave in the following situations:

  • In the case of marriage,
  • In the case of the birth of a spouse,
  • In the case of a serious illness of an immediate family member (for care and nursing purposes).

These are situations where the employer is obligated to allow employees to use paid leave days. The duration of paid leave is specified in the company’s general regulations and the employment contract for the employee.

Also, an employee can take advantage of paid leave with compensation in the following situations:

  • Death of an immediate family member,
  • Other circumstances defined by the employer’s general regulations or employment contract (natural disasters, significant damage to the home due to unforeseen accidents, etc.),
  • Voluntary blood donation.

In practice, paid leave is often used for other reasons, but only if the employer allows employees to use them as paid days off. In such cases, all additional rights are determined by the general regulations or employment contract.

For example, a day off for moving, a child starting school, a day of rest due to excessive workload if the employee has been overwhelmed, professional development, family-related events such as the birth of a child, a child’s wedding, or a child’s birthday.


2. Duration of Paid Leave


The right to paid leave: an employee can be granted a maximum of five working days per year for each case of absence. In other words, absence from work with wage compensation can be granted for a total duration of up to five working days within one calendar year for each specified case. This is a legal obligation of the employer.

However, the number of days granted depends on the employer’s decision, as the Labor Law allows the employer to determine this through internal regulations or employment contracts.

The company must enable paid leave for at least one and a maximum of five working days. Still, it also has the right to decide how many days the employee will receive. The company can specify that paid leave lasts fewer than five working days. Still, it can also define a duration longer than legally stipulated (a maximum of five working days within a calendar year).

Employees who voluntarily donate blood are entitled to two consecutive days off.

Regarding paid leave due to the death of an immediate family member, paid leave cannot be shorter than five working days. For each case under this basis, the employee can use up to five days of paid leave. Furthermore, in the event of the death of one of the immediate family members, the company can allow the employee to use more paid days, but not fewer than five.


3. Who is Considered an Immediate Family Member?


An immediate family member, for an employee’s entitlement to paid leave from work, is defined as:

  • Spouse, children, siblings, parents, adopter, adopted child, and legal guardians.
  • Other family members, relatives, or individuals living in the same household as the employee, as determined by the employer’s decision, for a duration set by the employer.


4. Paid Leave for Voluntary Blood Donation


Every employee is entitled to paid leave from work for voluntary blood donation. In this regard, an employee who voluntarily donates blood can receive a maximum of two consecutive days off.

According to the law, the days off for voluntary blood donation must be consecutive. These days include the day of blood donation and the following day. The blood donation date is considered the first day off, and the second day off is the immediate next date.

It is crucial to highlight that paid leave is not restricted to working days but covers two consecutive days, regardless of whether they are working days or non-working days, including weekends. The day off cannot be carried over to the next working day since it is linked to two consecutive days (for example, Friday and Saturday).


5. Can Paid Leave be Used at a Different Time?


Employees can only use paid leave at the moment and during the period when the situation that grants this right occurs (such as marriage, childbirth of the spouse, severe illness, other legal cases, and other circumstances determined by the employer). The right to paid leave cannot be used at a different time or during annual leave.

The law does not allow the days of paid leave to be combined or merged with any other absence. If an employee becomes eligible for paid leave while on annual leave, the annual leave is interrupted for the number of days the employee uses paid leave with wage compensation. The reason is that absence from work cannot be based on multiple grounds.

On the other hand, if an employee becomes eligible for paid leave while on sick leave, the sick leave cannot be interrupted to use paid leave. The reason is that the medical commission determines the start and end date of sick leave, as well as the temporary incapacity for work, following the law.

Free days for paid leave do not have to be used consecutively or all at once (except for voluntary blood donation). Also, the law does not prohibit paid leave for the same reason multiple times within one calendar year.


6. Salary Compensation During Paid Leave – What’s the Amount?


During paid leave, employees are entitled to receive salary compensation. Their compensation is equivalent to their average salary over the past 12 months, as determined by the company’s general regulations and employment contract.

This average salary encompasses all earnings considered as part of the salary, including base pay, bonuses, rewards, and other payments made to the employee as part of their employment.

Additionally, employees are also entitled to paid leave due to work interruptions. During work interruptions, where the workload is reduced through no fault of the employee, for a maximum of 45 working days in a calendar year, employees have the right to utilize paid leave.

In this case, when an employee is placed on paid leave, the company is obliged to provide them with salary compensation equal to 60% of the average salary they had over the previous 12 months.


7. How is Paid Leave Approved?


The law does not define a prescribed method for approving paid leave. However, for employees to utilize paid leave, the employer must agree and decide on its usage. For this reason, paid leave cannot be taken without a prior request, nor can a request be submitted retrospectively.

To ensure accuracy and proper record-keeping, employees must submit a written request to approve paid leave. Along with the request, appropriate documentation or evidence of the legal basis for using paid leave must be provided. Following this, the employer approves the usage and decides its utilization.


HLB T&M Consulting is a professional accounting agency that provides services for salary and wage calculations. If you need a reliable business partner for payroll services, employment relations advice, or an external accountant, feel free to contact us.