The Supreme Court of Appeals, in a recent decision, has said time spent on prayers cannot be deemed to be a part of working hours, adding that time spent for Friday and other prayers should be deducted from a worker's salary.
Muslims are obligated to pray five times a day. The case involved a textile worker in the northwestern province of Bursa who had filed a complaint arguing that his employer had failed to pay overtime after firing him. During the trial at a local labor court the worker argued that time he spent praying had been deducted from his salary. The employer argued that the worker had not done any overtime work, and that the firm was justified in subtracting the time spent praying. The firm had allowed the worker to perform all his prayers during working hours, and after the time spent praying was subtracted, their calculations showed that he did not merit overtime pay.
The court decided that prayer time should be included as a part of normal working hours and ordered the firm to pay the man overtime. The firm took the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals Seventh Bureau in Ankara, which overturned the lower court's decision and found the firm to be in the right. The bureau said all prayer times during the worker's time of employment should be analyzed, and the time spent subtracted from the total working hours. The lower court does not have the right to object to the appeals' court decision and the worker can now only take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeals' General Council.