Work-life balance

Turkey-flag-140Family is extremely important in the Turkish culture and organisations are susceptible to their workers’ family responsibilities. It is not common for organisations to have formal policies and practices in place to help their employees balance work and family responsibilities, but they do honour unwritten obligations. Also, childcare services are somewhat more affordable in Turkey than in the rest of the industrialized world. Many women work as in-home nannies and helpers for a relatively low cost. Support for childcare is also frequently provided by members of the extended family, especially mothers and mothers-in-law.

Findings have shown that Turkish men spend far less time doing domestic work than men from other countries, while Turkish women spend far longer than the average. The modern Turkish woman tends to be conflicted about working outside of the home, which is mainly associated with guilt over responsibilities to their families.

In addition, as more and more women enter the workforce, younger women worry more about balancing work and personal life, therefore deferring the decision of getting married and having children.

In order to balance work with family and personal life, it is important for organizations to pay special attention to providing workers with services that make their lives easier and more manageable. However, although organisations with more than 50 women employees are obliged by law to provide daycare in Turkey, the majority prefer to pay the fines rather than offer this service.

In addition, maternity leave is short with no guarantees that a woman will return to the same job, if she wishes to extend her leave period. In general, the uprising of social networks has helped working people establish a work-life balance. However, without the support of organizations having policies and practices monitored and enforced by the government, it will be difficult for working men and women to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

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National holidays

It is estimated that 79,8 million people in Turkey are Muslim, which amounts to 99,8% of the total population. Therefore, the religious holidays (Bayram means RELIGIOUS holiday in Turkish) Ramazan Bayrami and Kurban Bayrami are of great importance to the Turks.

Religious holidays

Ramazan Bayrami is a three-day festival celebrating the end of the fast of Ramadan month. Also known as “Seker (sweets) Bayrami” since it’s customary to offer candies to family members and friends that are visiting.

Kurban Bayrami is a four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed to the poor.

Celebration of these religious holidays changes according to the Islamic calendar.

National holidays

  • Jan 1: New Year’s Day
  • Apr 23: National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly)
  • May 1: Labour and Solidarity Day (recently added in 2009)
  • May 19: Atatürk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day (the arrival of Atatürk in Samsun, and the beginning of the War of Independence)
  • Aug 30: Victory Day (victory over invading forces in 1922).
  • October 6: Liberation of Istanbul (celebrated only in Istanbul)
  • Oct 29: Republic Day (anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)

Friday is the traditional Islamic weekly holiday, although this is now Sunday in Turkey. Many Turkish men attend the Friday Congregational prayer – Cuma Namazi [pronounced juma namz-uh] which takes place around lunchtime.

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Working hours

Employment in Turkey is governed primarily by the labour and trade union laws, under which the maximum working week is restricted to 45 hours which should  be equally divided between the number of days worked.  “However, in accordance with the Labor Law, working hours may be arranged by the employer within the legal limits. In spite of the law, there is no standard work week in Turkey.”

The opening hours of Government departments, offices and banks are from 8.30am to 12:30pm and 1.30pm to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday. Shops are normally open from 9am to 7pm every day, including weekends. During the summer months, you can expect the working day to begin at 7am or 8am and end at 2pm, in some cities.

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Health insurance

The Ministry of Health is responsible for coordinating all health and social welfare activities. Article 60 of the Turkish Constitution states that “Every individual is entitled to social security. The State takes the necessary measures to create this confidence and organizes the organization”.

Medical care in Turkey is considered better than in the past, but has not yet reached the quality that should be expected in most of the state hospitals. Private hospitals have upgraded their standards of care and raised the quality of their physicians and medical equipment by investing more money. Unfortunately, there are minimal healthcare services and facilities in rural areas. Besides the state and private sector, hospitals have also been established and run by the universities and the Ministry of Defense.

The public healthcare system is paid for through public health insurance which is automatically deducted from people’s salaries. For people who do not work, contributions to public health insurance are still mandatory in order to access the public healthcare system.  In order to obtain better quality healthcare, private health insurance is becoming more popular.

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