Journalism is a domain specifically protected by Press Labour Law numbered 5953 ("Press Labour Law") and it differs from the general labour law rules in Turkey. As the code has been in force for over fifty years, the intrinsic legal holes in the Press Labour Law should be covered by the general provisions in the Labour Law numbered 4857 ("Labour Law") and the decisions of the Turkish High Court of Appeals.
1. Mandatory Military Service
According to Military Law numbered 1111, every male citizen who reaches twenty years of age must serve in the military. This mandatory provision leads employees to terminate or suspend their employment contracts and enlist in the military.
As mentioned above, the issue of severance payment for termination due to military service is regulated under Labour Law and not in Press Labour Law. If the provisions of Labour Law are to be applied by analogy, Labour Law states that in the event that the employee terminates his employment contract due to enlisting in active mandatory military service, the employer is required to pay thirty days of salary for every whole year the employee has worked in the employer's workplace as severance payment.
Requesting severance payment by using this rule requires two conditions. Firstly, the employee needs sufficient proof linking his termination to military service. Secondly, appropriate time between termination of the employment contract and enlisting in the military service is needed. Turkish High Court of Appeals considers three months as an appropriate time while considering thirteen months too long. As a side note, the severance payment obligation of the employer only arises if the press employee is enlisting for active military service for the first time. Recruitment for the purposes of education or military maneuvers or recruitment for the purposes of partial or full mobilization does not grant the press employee severance rights under Labour Law.
In addition to the above mentioned general rules under Labour Law, there are two specific issues that should be considered for press employees. The first one is an extra condition that Press Labour Law brings. Unlike Labour Law, Press Labour Law requires a minimum of five year experience for journalists to be granted with the right to receive severance payment (Article 6/1 of Press Labour Law). Under this provision, a press employee shall not have the right to request severance payment for his termination due to military service, if this employee has yet to amass five years of experience as a journalist. The second issue is that Press Labour Law enables press employees to receive all or some amount of their salary during military service according to Article 16, provided they meet the conditions stated therein. This rule has a wider regulation area than the regulations under Labour Law as it also applies in case of recruitment for the purposes of education, military manoeuvre, partial or full mobilization as well as active military service.
As a result, press employees have two options in front of them before beginning their mandatory military service. The first one is to terminate the employment contract and receive severance payment under general Labour Law terms (provided that they have at least 5 years of experience as a journalist). The second one is to suspend their employment contract and receive partial salary rights during the time of service under Press Labour Law terms. However, the second option one is almost never used and press employees usually terminate their contracts to receive severance payment.
As with the mandatory military service, there is no specific regulation regarding severance payment in case of terminating employment contract based on marriage under Press Labour Law. On the other hand, general provisions of Labour Law give the right to terminate employment contracts to female employees and acquire severance payment based on this reason. However, in this case, the right to terminate the employment contract must be used in one year starting from the date of marriage and the amount of severance payment must be thirty days salary for every year worked in the employer's workplace. The five year experience condition regarding severance rights of press employees must also be considered in this regard since the press employee would not have the right to request any severance payment if she does not have five years of experience as a journalist.
Labour Law states that the employer has to provide severance payment if the employee terminates his/her contract after gaining right to retire from Social Security Institution. Although no specific reference has been made for the appliance of Labour Law provisions for retirement to press employees, a 2008 decision made by the Turkish High Court of Appeals states that the press employees shall be entitled to severance payment due to retirement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.