Employment & Labour

VALIDITY CONDITIONS OF RELEASE AND ITS EFFECT ON LABOUR CLAIMS

Release is a bilateral act of disposition that terminates the creditor’s right to claim in whole or in part, and the document in which this disposition is revealed by the joint will of the parties is described as “release” or “release agreement”.

What are the Validity Conditions of the Release Agreement Regulated in the Article 420/2 of the Turkish Code of Obligations?

  • The release agreement related to the employee’s receivable from the employer must be in written form,
  • to have at least one-month period have passed starting with the date of termination of the contract (The reason for this condition is to prevent the employee from signing a release under duress at the time of resignation.),
  • the type and amount of receivable subject to release must be clearly described (for example, 5.000 TL as overtime pay), 
  • the payment must be thoroughly done through the bank. Any release agreements or release forms that do not contain these elements are absolutely invalid.

Release agreements that do not provide these conditions are strictly null and void in accordance with Article 120/2 of the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098.

However, it should be considered that the above conditions will be sought for the releases issued after 01.07.2012, when the Turkish Code of Obligations No. 6098 came into force. The validity of the releases for the period when the Code of Obligations No. 6098 was not in force is evaluated within the framework of the principles accepted by the Supreme Court in the relevant period. In a decision dated 15.10.2018 of the 22nd Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court, the Court has clearly expressed its opinion on this issue by making an evaluation with the following statement; “In other words, the issue of the validity of the release for the period when the Law of Obligations No. 6098 did not enter into force should be evaluated within the framework of the relevant principles of our Chamber. Failure to issue a release within one month following the termination and the obligation to make payments through the bank is valid for release agreements to be drawn up after 01.07.2012.”

What is the Legal Character of a Release Agreements That Do Not Contain That the Right is Paid in the True Amount or Any Other Payment Documents Containing Release Statement?

In the third paragraph of Article 420 of the Turkish Code of Obligations it is stated that; any release agreements that do not contain that the right is paid in the true amount or any other payment documents containing release statement have the conclusion of a receipt limited to amounts contained therein. (For example, if the employee who signed the release agreement, which is declared to have received 5 thousand TL as overtime pay in the agreement, is actually 7 thousand TL for overtime pay, this release agreement is like a receipt for 5 thousand TL. In other words, the employee can claim and sue the remaining 2 thousand TL overtime pay.) Even in this case, the payments must be made through the bank. Therefore, payments made to the employee by hand do not protect the employer in terms of proof.

In the last paragraph of the same article, it is stated that the regulation and validity conditions regarding the release agreement will also apply to all compensation claims arising from the labour contract, including the compensations that may be claimed by the relatives of the employee in cases such as those who are lack of support and the death of the employee.

 

Ekin Kocaman

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