I am Rubaba Khatun, HR of a Multinational Company of Dhaka. I am writing regarding one of the deceased employees of our company. One of the drivers of our company recently died of heart attack. He has been working in this company for last 14 years. He has two wives, one living in Barisal and another living in Dhaka. He has children born out of the wedlock with both the wives. Now, we are in a dilemma regarding who are entitled of the unpaid wages, dues, PF and benefits of the deceased and how to disburse such amount? We are getting contradictory opinions from the HR colleagues, our company lawyers and other peer-groups. Please advice.
Rubaba Khatun, Dhaka
I would like to thank you for your query. In fact, this is a very common phenomena for every organization when their employees may die before they are separated in any other manner or by retirement. Bangladesh Labour Act (BLA) 2006 deals with such situation. In section 131 of BLA 2006, it is clearly mentioned regarding to whom such unpaid amount is to be paid. Moreover, an amendment of BLA has been recently published on 21 October, 2018 where some substantial changes have been brought to section 131, which deals with payment of unpaid wages of the dead worker. As per new amendment all sums payable to a worker due to his death shall be paid to the person nominated by the concerned worker on his behalf or legal heir or heirs of the deceased worker. If there is no such nominee or legal heir, for any reason or not possible to be paid to the nominee or legal heirs within twelve (12) months, then such amount needs to be deposited with the Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation.
Following the above-mentioned amendment, it is apparent that the law has clearly guided to whom you need to disburse the unpaid wages and dues of the deceased worker. You need to firstly find out if there is any proper nominee made by the deceased worker. For such purpose, certain requirements need to be carefully observed, for example, details of the nominee, relationship with the nominee, signature of the nominee etc. If nominee is not made properly, then you need to find out the proper successors of the deceased. Now from your position, it would be very difficult to determine who the lawful successors are and the portion of share of individual successor as the deceased employee had two wives and many children. Therefore, you need to collect from the successors of the deceased employee a Succession Certificate issued by court. A Succession Certificate is a document that is issued by a civil court to the legal heirs of a deceased who dies without leaving a will. Such document mentions the name of the successors and their respective portion of shares on the asset of the deceased employee. Therefore, upon presentation of such certificate you can distribute and disburse his unpaid dues to the proper successors. However, you also have to be mindful about the fact that, if you cannot disburse such amount within 12 months from the date of death of the deceased employee then you need to deposit such amount to Bangladesh Labour Welfare Foundation to discharge your liability. The Welfare foundation will then take the responsibility to distribute such unpaid dues to the appropriate persons. If they cannot do so within 10 years, then the amount will be forfeited in favour of the Foundation.
I hope this answer paves the way of solution for your above-mentioned query.
For detailed query contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.