FACULTY HANDBOOK
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3. COMPENSATION, BENEFITS and LEAVE POLICY

3.1 Compensation

Compensation of Bilkent faculty members depends on performance as well as academic rank. Promotion to higher academic ranks is explained elsewhere in this document under Appointment and Promotion. Within an academic rank, the salary system aims to reward higher levels of academic or artistic performance. This document sets forth the criteria and procedures for the compensation of faculty members within an academic rank. The salary system explained below is based on the annual evaluations of performance, detailed in the Annual Review and Evaluation of Faculty Members.

In addition to monetary compensation, faculty members are entitled to various benefits, described below in section 3.2.

3.1.1 Payments and Salary

3.1.1.1 Salary Payment and Biannual Adjustments

Salaries are deposited monthly on the last working day of the month in Turkish Liras to the faculty member's bank account (either Yapı Kredi Bankası , İş Bankası, or Garanti Bankası). In line with the general practice in Turkey, the University tries to protect staff against inflationary pressures by adjusting salaries accordingly twice a year, in January and July.

3.1.1.2 Gross/Net Salary

3.1.2 Salary System

The total salary has up to two components: the base salary and, potentially, a bonus given on the basis of research or artistic performance merit.

3.1.2.1 Base Salary

Base salary depends on the academic rank, the level within a rank and the step within a level. Within an academic rank, there are two kinds of base salary promotions, 1) across levels in an academic rank, and 2) across steps within a level.

Note: This system of base salary increases applies to promotion within a given academic rank; thus it is different from promotions from one academic rank to another, which are recommended by the University Appointment and Promotion Committee. This system is also different from the annual (January) evaluations and salary adjustments that are founded entirely on "merit" (based on research, scholarly work, or artistic performance).

3.1.2.1.1 Promotions Across Levels in an Academic Rank

For the academic ranks of Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor, there are 5 base salary levels within each rank:

The salary at each level is approximately 4% higher than the previous level. Promotion from D2 to D3, for example, is not automatic but based on academic/scholarly/artistic performance. Academic/scholarly/artistic performance of faculty members is appraised by the Academic Evaluation Committee composed of the Provost, Associate Provosts, and relevant Deans. In March-April, this committee reviews the Annual Faculty Survey forms filled out by the faculty members as well as evaluations of the department Chair and the Dean/Director. The committee then recommends promotion or non-promotion across the salary levels of the currently held academic rank. It may also recommend an increased course load for a faculty member, if research or artistic performance has been less than commendable for several consecutive years. There can be at most one level promotion in one year, either in April or October, depending on the date of appointment of the faculty member to his/her current academic rank.

For the academic rank of Instructors the base salaries are determined according to the degrees held and academic experience. There are 20 base salary levels:

3.1.2.1.2 Promotions across Steps within a Level: Based on Teaching and Service Performance

To encourage and reward commendable teaching performance and the dedicated service a faculty member provides to the university, Bilkent University has a cumulative point system. In the annual evaluation form, Chairs and Deans/Directors give points to each faculty member for teaching and for service. In April-May, the Academic Evaluation Committee composed of the Provost, Associate Provosts and the relevant Dean/Director committee reviews the point evaluations given by the department Chair and the Dean/Director in the annual survey form. Department Chairs and Deans/Directors assess the faculty member’s teaching performance and service to the department/university and assign an evaluation out of 5 for teaching and another evaluation out of 5 for service. The teaching and service points which are above the mean of the faculty/school cumulate over the years. When these teaching and service points add up and exceed a threshold, the faculty member gets an approximately 2% base salary raise in October.

3.1.2.2 Bonus Based on "Merit" (based on the evidence for research, scholarly work, or artistic performance)

3.1.2.3 Administrative Compensation

The deans and associate deans of faculties, the directors of schools, and chairpersons of departments receive additional compensation for their administrative duties and responsibilities.

3.1.2.4 Compensation for "Bilkent Distinguished Teaching Awards"

The faculty members who receive the "Bilkent Distinguished Teaching Award" receive additional compensation in appreciation of their excellence in teaching. See also Distinguished Teaching Awards

3.2 Benefits

3.2.1 Retirement Benefits: Savings Trust

There is a savings trust system, which aims to contribute to the future financial security of Bilkent University personnel. Bilkent University provides an extra amount, over and above the salary, to be saved on behalf of the staff member. This amount is 5% of net salary, provided by the University additionally and not deducted from the salary. The trust is managed by a 5-member board whose members are selected by the Rector from among 10 candidates nominated by the University Executive Board.

3.2.1.1 Savings Trust Eligibility and Payments

All full-time academic and administrative University staff are members of the Trust automatically. All staff who work at Bilkent for more than 5 years are eligible to a retirement income (payments) when they reach the age of 60. This income is the amount that accumulates from 5% of the net salary, which is invested so as to earn interest and income. The amount of the retirement income depends on the length of employment at Bilkent: staff who work for 5-10 years are eligible for a percentage of the accumulated amount, a percentage that increases for each month worked; the staff who work for more than 10 years are eligible for 100% of the accumulated amount.

A member who retires from Turkish Social Security (SSK) with a disability is automatically eligible for payments, as are trust members who reach the age of 70. In case of death, the member’s benefactors receive all payments.

Members can choose to receive the payment as a lump sum or on a yearly basis (to reduce tax liability).

 

3.2.1.2 Savings Trust Tax Liability

All payments are subject to income tax. These taxes are deducted from the payments. Changes to the Trust’s structure will be made if any new laws are enacted which would favor Trust members.

 

3.2.2 Health Insurance

Bilkent faculty may participate in an optional private group health insurance plan, which has comprehensive coverage. The plan is available on an individual or family basis. There is a certain waiting period before full coverage begins. The health plan includes treatment abroad. This insurance is subsidized by the University (Bilkent pays 50% of the monthly dues for staff) and is very affordable compared to similar plans in Turkey. The terms of and coverage limits of the plan change from year to year. See current health insurance contract: (WORD / PDF)

For purposes of convenience, for those who have elected to have private health insurance, monthly payments for this coverage are deducted from net salary.

 

3.2.3  Tuition Support for Spouses and Children 

The University provides tuition support for the spouses and children of faculty members studying in the undergraduate and graduate programs. There is a 30% tuition fee reduction for spouses and 50% for children.

Varying degrees of tuition support is provided for the children of faculty members enrolled in Bilkent University Preparatory School, Özel Bilkent Lisesi (Bilkent Private High School) or Bilkent Nursery School. These schools can be contacted for detailed information.

3.2.4 Free Transportation Service On and Off Campus

There is a ring service circling around Main Campus and between campuses. These shuttle buses run every 20 minutes from various stops. There is another free bus service to and from two other university campuses in the vicinity. There is also a free of charge bus service to and from Ankara. Buses depart from various stops on campus and go to (and come back from) three destinations in Ankara. See bus schedules.

 

3.2.5 Lunch Tickets

A booklet of "tickets" is given every month except August to the staff to contribute to their expenditures for meals. The monetary value of these tickets approximates average expenditures (or at least the bulk of the expenditures) for weekday lunches at the University table d’hote restaurant. These tickets can be used in lieu of money in all of the restaurants and cafes on the campus and some of the restaurants in the vicinity of the campus as well as in some grocery stores in Ankara. The tickets are valid for one calendar year and can be used any time during the year.

 

3.2.6 Rent-Free Furnished Housing

All international faculty members and some of the Turkish faculty members are provided with rent-free, furnished, on-campus housing. Tenants pay the monthly fees for maintenance and utilities. The flats are allocated by the Office of the Vice-Rector for Financial and Administrative Affairs.

For purposes of convenience, faculty members have the option of having the monthly maintenance fees for faculty housing and utilities automatically deducted from their paychecks.

 

3.3 Leave and Official Holidays

3.3.1 Annual Paid Leave (Vacation)

Upon the approval of the Department Chair and Dean/Director, academic staff can take up to four weeks of paid leave every year, on condition that it does not interfere with regular teaching and research responsibilities. By default, the month of August is designated for annual leave for all academic staff. Those who would like to take their leaves at a different time period during the summer, the annual leave should be planned by filling out the online form on Academic Information Review System (AIRS). Academic personnel with administrative duties need to designate who will be acting in their absence through an internal memo to their unit and to the Rector's Office.

3.3.2 Sabbatical Leave

A sabbatical leave is not a right a faculty member automatically "earns" after being employed for a given period of time. Rather, it is an investment by the University in the expectation that the sabbatical leave will significantly enhance the faculty member’s capacity to contribute to the objectives of the University. For this reason, sabbatical leave applications are approved only if there is adequate reason to believe that they will achieve this purpose.

3.3.2.1 Eligibility and Where the Leave can be Taken

Full-time Professors, Associate Professors and Assistant Professors are eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave after having worked for a given period of time with a normal course load.

Since the objective of a sabbatical leave is to enhance a faculty member's research performance, the leave must be taken at a reputable foreign university or research center. Leaves cannot be taken at institutions in Turkey.

3.3.2.2. Duration

Any full-time faculty member who has completed at least three years of service (completion of 6 to 11 semesters of course load, not including Summer School) may apply for a maximum 6-month sabbatical leave. This leave must be taken either during the Fall or Spring semester and not span both semesters

Any full-time faculty member who has completed at least six years of service (completion of 12 or more semesters of course load, not including Summer School) may apply for a maximum 12-month sabbatical leave. The 12-month period must not span two academic years or include three consecutive semesters.

Regardless of the duration of the sabbatical leave taken, once it is granted and taken, the accumulation for subsequent leaves is reset. An example: A 6-month leave is taken after five years (10 semesters) of full-time service. The faculty member must serve at least three years (6 semesters) to once again be eligible for another six-month leave.

 

3.3.2.3 Application for a Sabbatical Leave

A request for a sabbatical leave is submitted to the Department Chair at least six months in advance, along with letters from institution(s) inviting the faculty member for a sabbatical stay. Upon the approval of the Department Chair and Faculty Dean, the request is then submitted to the Office of the Provost. Final approval of the leave rests with the University Executive Board. (Application Form For Professional Leave of Absence Supported by University Funds)

 

3.3.2.4 Conditions for Use of Leave

To be granted the leave, the courses usually taught by the faculty member requesting a leave must be covered by the Department in some manner. The leave may have to be postponed if the Department has difficulty in meeting its instructional obligations.

Leaves which have already been approved for 6 or 12 months cannot be split to be used at different times. However, the leave can be taken at more than one institution consecutively.

Faculty members will continue to receive their salaries during the leave, minus any additional compensation normally received for administrative responsibilities. However, adjustments to salaries made in January and June are not applicable until the faculty member’s return from the sabbatical. Also, any April/October salary-level promotions are postponed until the following year for 12-month leaves and for 6 months for 6-month leaves.

Faculty members may get additional compensation from the institution they are spending their sabbatical.

A faculty member intending to resign from the university may not take the leave in his/her last year and is required to serve at least one academic year upon return from the sabbatical. Faculty members are required to sign an agreement before taking their leave.

 

3.3.3 Unpaid Leave

A request for a leave without pay is submitted in writing to the department at least 3 months before the leave is requested, stating the reasons and its duration. If approved by the department and faculty/school, the request is forwarded to the Office of the Rector for final approval. Unpaid leaves that overlap with either the Fall or Spring semester cannot be less than 6 months. An unpaid leave which has an overlap with both of these semesters must be at least 12 months in length. An "overlap" in this context means that the instructor will not be able to teach courses during that semester in their entirety.

 

3.3.4 Maternity Leave

Turkish Labor Laws provide female personnel with 6 weeks leave prior to delivery, the date to be based on the SSK (Turkish Social Security) hospital report. A 6-week leave is given after normal delivery. In case of cesarean delivery, the maternity leave is 8 weeks. Upon the approval of the department and faculty/school, the mother may also be granted 6 months unpaid leave starting from the end of the maternity leave.

 

3.3.5 Leave to Attend Conferences

Faculty members whose requests to attend conferences (see form) are approved by the department and faculty/school are granted leaves for the number of days indicated on the approved form.

 

3.3.6 Research Leave

Upon the joint recommendation of the dean and chair and approval of the Provost, faculty members may be given up to six weeks of leave (during the summer months) for research and investigation. A faculty member requesting such a leave must submit a research program which states specific research objectives and expected outcomes.

 

3.3.7 Official Holidays

The following are official holidays:

If any of these dates fall on a weekend, they are not carried over to the Friday preceding or Monday following the holiday. Consequently the number of observed holidays changes every year and are announced each year in the academic calendar.

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