According to Article 440 of the Turkish Code of Obligations, “The contract automatically terminates on the death of the employee. The employer, to the surviving spouse and minor children of the worker, or their dependents, for one month, starting from the day of death; If the service relationship has continued for more than five years, he is obliged to pay a two-month fee.”
WHO HAVE THE RIGHT TO REQUEST DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH FROM THE EMPLOYER?
The surviving spouse and minor children of the worker, or their dependents, have the right to damages for wrongful death demand from the employer. According to the regulation in the Turkish Code of Obligations, the right to demand damages for wrongful death from the employer is not dependent on the title of heir. The surviving spouse and minor children of the deceased worker have priority. If the deceased worker has a spouse or minor children, payment is made only to them. If these are not available, the dependents of the deceased worker can also claim damages for wrongful death.
WHAT IS THE SEVERANCE PAY REGULATED IN THE LABOR LAW?
One of the most important consequences of termination of the employment contract is severance pay. The conditions for giving severance pay to the heirs of the employee in the event of the death of the employee within the scope of the Labor Law are as follows:
1) Working as an employee under the Labor Law,
2) Having at least 1 year of seniority,
3) Termination of the employment contract due to death.
IN CASE OF THE DEATH OF EMPLOYEE EMPLOYEE SUBJECT TO OTHER LABOR LAWS, CAN RIGHT OWNERS CLAIM THE DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH REGULATED IN THE TURKISH LAW OF OBLIGATIONS?
There is no doubt that the damages for wrongful death regulated in the Turkish Code of Obligations will be applied in terms of labor relations within the scope of the Code of Obligations, but its application for workers subject to other Labor Laws is controversial in doctrine.
In Article 18 of the Press Labor Law, there is a special provision under the heading of damages for wrongful death.
In the event that the employment contract ends with the death of the worker, the regulation regarding the severance pay to the legal heirs of the worker is included in the Labor Law and the Maritime Labor Law, but there is no regulation on death compensation. For this reason, it is discussed in the doctrine that workers working under the Labor Law and Maritime Labor Law demand death compensation in accordance with Article 440 of the Turkish Code of Obligations.
According to Article 5 of the Turkish Civil Code, “This Law and the general provisions of the Code of Obligations apply to all private law relations to the extent appropriate.”
According to the prevailing view in practice, the damages for wrongful death regulation introduced by the Turkish Code of Obligations, which is the general law, is a different regulation from the severance pay in the Labor Law. Severance pay is a compensation for service to the workplace, while damages for wrongful death provides a support to the survivors. The creditors of the severance pay are the legal heirs of the employee, the creditors of the damages for wrongful death, the surviving spouse and minor children, and if these persons are not present, they are the dependents of the deceased employee. Considering all these, the prevailing opinion is that damages for wrongful death should also be applied and paid for employees within the scope of the Labor Law.