Social Security and Welfare Benefits in Turkey

Information on the social security system in Turkey with details on the welfare benefits available...

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı) is responsible for employment and social security affairs in Turkey.

In order to benefit from the Turkish Social Security System, residents in Turkey must enrol with the Turkish Social Security Fund (Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu - SGK). It is possible to access free or low-cost healthcare, although the standard varies considerably from region to region. Social security offices are found throughout the country.

Social security contributions

Paying into the state-run social security scheme (Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu - SSK) is compulsory for all employees. A percentage of employees' pre-tax earnings is paid into the scheme. Employers and employees both pay premiums; however, these vary according to the level of risk involved in a job. The employee contributes approximately 15 percent, which is deducted from their salary; the employer contributes approximately 21.5 percent.

A foreigner working in Turkey and contributing to the social security fund in their home country does not have to contribute to the Turkish Social Security Fund, provided there is a reciprocal agreement between their home country and Turkey.

  • For further information on reciprocal agreements: Click here

Agricultural workers, the self-employed, and people receiving benefits from other organisations in the system are not eligible for SSK benefits.

Those contributing to the social insurance scheme and their spouse and children are insured for work injuries and work-related illnesses, medical care, illness and pregnancy care. Disability benefits are available only to Turkish citizens.

Universal Health Insurance

A system of Universal Health Insurance (Genel Sağlık Sigortası) is currently being implemented in Turkey (as of February 2012). Most foreigners with a residence permit and living permanently for at least one year in Turkey, and who do not hold health insurance under the legislation of their home country, must make compulsory monthly payments into the scheme. For some foreigners this scheme is voluntary, but other nationalities have to pay into this scheme or pay a fine. For most foreigners, this entitles them to unlimited healthcare for approximately TL 200 a month. Payments into the scheme are made monthly at a bank.

Eligibility

  • The foreigner must have held a residency permit for at least one year
  • The foreigner must not be entitled to a government health scheme in their home country

To determine whether they are eligible to benefit from the health insurance system, foreigners should contact their home country embassy or consulate, or the nearest Social Security Office (Sosyal Güvenlik Ofisil Müdürlükleri).

To enrol in the Universal Health Insurance Scheme, the following documents are required:

  • Residency permit
  • Turkish ID number
  • Passport

Maternity Benefits

Turkish employment law allows a pregnant woman 16 weeks' maternity leave, with eight weeks to be taken before the birth and eight after; it is not possible to take the whole period of leave after the birth. In the case of a multiple pregnancy (twins or more), maternity leave is increased to 18 weeks. A pregnant woman may work up to three weeks before the birth, with the balance of leave added to the period of leave taken after the birth, provided her health and that of the baby allow it.

In order to qualify for maternity benefit, a woman must have worked at least 120 days within the last year, and must submit a medical report from a doctor to a local social security office. The woman is entitled to receive up to two-thirds of her salary during the maternity leave.

Temporary Incapacity Benefits

Employees are entitled to this benefit if they are on sick leave. They are entitled to 50 percent of their average daily earnings, or 67 percent if they have dependants. To be eligible, the employee must submit a report from a doctor to their local social security office.