Social security in Turkey

Unemployment and disability

Social security in Turkey

In theory, Turkey provides nationwide public health and employment insurance. In reality, the system is a mess at best, and just short of a disaster at worst.

There are inefficiencies and inconsistencies regarding service and eligibility – those in Turkey for political asylum and refugees, for example, are eligible for Turkish health insurance, but in practice they rarely receive care. Turkey´s social security system struggles under an enormous debt, which the government hopes to combat through massive social security reforms.

If you require pension, unemployment, or disability benefits, expect to encounter problems or delays in some form or another.

Unemployment benefits in Turkey

Legally employed workers are eligible for unemployment benefits in Turkey. These include foreign workers, so long as they have been working and living in Turkey legally and are at least 18 years old.

Contributions to unemployment funds are 1 % of employees´ earnings and 2 % of their employers´ payrolls. A worker is eligible to receive benefits after 600 days of contributions in the preceding 3 years of employment.

The minimum benefit payment is 50 % of a worker´s average daily earnings (calculated from the 4 months prior to unemployment), and cannot be higher than minimum wage for that worker´s industry. Benefits may be paid for up to 1,080 days, depending on the unemployed person´s number of contributions.

Disability benefits

Turkish social security provides for both temporary and permanent disability benefits for those who are injured at work. This coverage extends to all full-time employees, and does not require a minimum qualifying period. Contributions to the system are paid entirely by employers, who pay between 1.5 % and 7 % of the value of their payrolls. Exact contributions are based on the risk of injury – corporate firms contribute less than industrial contractors.

Temporary benefits are paid in the amount of either 2/3 or ½ (if hospitalization was required) of an employee´s daily earnings.

Permanent disability benefits are calculated from the estimated “loss of working capacity“ (this is determined by the Social Insurance Institution based on the injury). For partial disability, if this “loss of working capacity“ is between 10 and 25 %, benefits may be paid as a lump sum.

Survivors of workers killed on the job are awarded a pension roughly 35 % of the deceased employee´s minimum monthly earnings, in addition to a lump sum to cover funeral costs.

Eligible survivors include: a spouse, children under 18 (20 if in pre-university, 25 if in university), a disabled son older than 18, an unmarried (divorced, widowed etc.) daughter of any age who is not receiving social security benefits of her own, and dependent parents.

Pension benefits in Turkey

Men over 60 and women over 58 are eligible for pension benefits once they have ceased gainful employment. Pension benefits are calculated from the workers´ average yearly earnings. The minimum monthly pension is roughly 500,000,000 Turkish lira, and pensions will not exceed 900,000,000 Turkish lira.

Maternity benefits

Pregnant women are eligible to receive 2/3 of their average daily earnings for 8 weeks preceding and following childbirth. In addition, they are eligible for lump-sum pregnancy, childbirth and nursing benefits.

Childbirth benefits increase with multiple births (twins and triplets, for instance).

Further reading

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