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Social security system in Turkey

Social security system in Turkey

Which social insurance institutions exist in Turkey?

Public social security benefits in Turkey are significantly lower than, for instance, in Germany. The child allowance, for example, is approximately 10 Euro per month. Other benefits, such as welfare aid or nursing insurance do not exist (yet). Old people and people in need of care are usually looked after by their families.

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The most important social insurance institutions in Turkey

Blue collar and white collar workers with an employment contract from a Turkish company are insured via their employer in the SSK (Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu).
Civil servants and employees in state companies are insured in the Emekli Sandığı. The Bağ-Kur insurance is responsible for the self-employed and also for agricultural workers. The insurance companies offer insurance in case of illness,  maternity, occupational accidents, handicaps, occupational illnesses as well as a (mainly very small) pension schemes. There is an exception for employees working for a company with headquarters in Germany. They can continue their membership in the German social security system.

Detailed information:

Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı
Turkish ministry of labour and social affairs


Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu
Turkish social security office

Modernising social security in Turkey

Improvement of the social security system is under way. To this effect, the Turkish Parliament passed two laws in April 2006 concerning social security, against in part heavy resistance from the population and from the trade unions. The new laws concern the reforming of the pension and health insurance as well as the introduction of a living allowance for the needy. Among others, the creation of one single social security office is envisaged. It is intended to unite the Emekli Sandığı, Bağ-Kur and Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu under one roof. The Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu was established as the umbrella organisation for this on 20 May 2006.


Health insurance and the family practitioner

Furthermore, it is intended to introduce a  comprehensive health insurance with a family practitioner system. Up to now, however, the two laws (law on social security office and law on social and general health insurance) have not been implemented.

Supplementary social benefits from the employer

Some employers, especially larger companies, grant their staff additional benefits in the areas of social and medical care. These include, for instance, company doctors and sickbays or voluntary payments in cases of illness or death and much more. As an employee, you are also insured against accidents in Turkey via your employer. The cost of the contributions is dependent on the probability of possible accidents.

Health insurance

Only basic medical care

The Turkish public social security system grants the insured a minimum of medical care. This includes free-of-charge treatment in the state-run hospitals; these are, however, often very lacking in equipment. Furthermore, there are long waiting lists. Care in theexpensive private clinics and surgeries is, however, very good.


Patients’ contributions to medication

Every insured person must pay a patient’s contribution of 20 per cent (pensioners: 10 per cent). Furthermore, many medicinal services must be paid for fully by the patient, such as expensive medication and modern examination processes.


Continued payment of wages during illness

Employees are entitled to continued payment of wages after the third day of illness. For this they must have paid 120 days’ contributions in the year before the illness. The amount of illness benefit is calculated from the average wages of the past four months: One half will be paid for in-patient treatment, two thirds for out-patient treatment – at the most for 18 months.
In the case of accidents with permanent inability to work, the insured is entitled to a monthly pension. In cases of fatal accidents, the  surviving dependants receive a monthly pension.

Unemployment insurance

The law on unemployment insurance, first introduced into Turkey in 1999, provides fundamentally for two different types of benefits:
unemployment benefits and qualification measures. According to the World Bank, however, only four per cent of the unemployed have actually received benefits from the unemployment fund up to now.


Amount of unemployment benefit

The amount of unemployment benefit is calculated from the average wages of the past four months and is 50 per cent of this average wage.
However, the amount of unemployment benefit must not exceed the minimum wage (562.50 TRY/301 Euro for employees over 16 years of age in 2007).


Duration of benefit payments

The duration of payment of benefits is dependent on how many days the employee has paid in contributions in the last three years: 600 days' paid in contributions leads to 180 days benefit entitlement, 900 days' to 240 days and 1080 days of contributions to a maximum of 300 days. Furthermore, the employee must have been in uninterrupted socially insured employment during the last 120 days before commencement of benefits. For the payment period of the benefits, the unemployment insurance takes over the contributions to health and maternity insurance.

Pension insurancefor blue-collar / white-collar workers:

Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu (SSK)


for civil servants / state employees

Emekli Sandığı


for self-employed


Pension insurance

Pension entitlements

Currently in Turkey, men may enter retirement at 44 years of age after having paid contributions for 23 years, women can retire at the age of 40 year after 18 years of contributions. The pension insurance benefits consist of a monthly old-age pension or the paying-out of the contributions made, if no claim is made for a pension. Alongside the reaching of a specific age, a certain insurance period can also lead to a pension entitlement.


Amount of pension and age of entry

The amount of a pension varies considerably in Turkey. Although it is regularly linked to the rate of inflation, it is at present well below the subsistence level. The reform of the pension and health insurance envisages that men may draw a pension at 60 after 9,000 contributory days (ca. 25 years of contributions), and women at 58 after 7,000 contributory days (ca. 19 years of contributions.


From 2035 onwards, the age of entry into retirement is intended to be standardised at 65 for men and women. By 2041, the amount of pension is intended to be 50 per cent of the average gross wage, assuming 25 years of contributions. The basis for calculating any increase in pensions is to be the consumer price index.


Retroactive contributions

Contributions to the Turkish pension insurance SSK may also be made retroactively. The is also the case for the non-working spouse.
They amount to 5 US-Dollars per day of insurance. The prerequisite is that one has moved permanently to Turkey. The application must be made at the latest two years after entering the country.
There is no deadline for the payment of contributions. By-the-way: there is a general possibility for everyone in Turkey of 'buying oneself in' to the Turkish pension insurance. Applications are to be addressed to SSK ( for non-working spouses to Bağ-Kur (


Wage levels in Turkey are still low in many areas. However, the differences are significant, depending on the trade and geographical position. The legal minimum wage in 2009 was ca. 325.00 Euro. Supplementary benefits from the employer for his employees, such as midday meals or collective transport to and from the place of work and home, are widespread.

Payment collection system

Employers in Turkey pay social security contributions for their insured employees into the SSK (Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu). A registration is to be made by the employer and must be carried out at the latest one day after commencement of work, unless it is the first registration of an employee, for which the employer has a period of grace of one month


Posting of German employees in Turkey

Should a company with its headquarters in Germany send foreign personnel to Turkey, the foreign employee(s) may, under certain circumstances, remain member(s) in the German social insurance system on the basis of the German-Turkish social security agreement. If social security contributions are to be paid in Turkey, these are fairly high at 21.5 % employer’s share and 14.5 % employee’s share.


The insurance consists of pension insurance, maternity and child benefits as well as unemployment insurance. 8 weeks before, and 8 weeks after the birth are provided for by law as maternity leave, whereby it is possible for the employee to choose a different allocation of this time period. At the end of the maternity leave, the working mother is entitled to a further 6 months of maternity leave; however, this is unpaid.