Draft of proposed Employment Act to be made public soon
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara says the first draft of the proposed Employment Act will be made public soon.
Taking to Twitter, the lawmaker mentioned that the document has already been submitted to the National Labour Advisory Council.
The draft of the proposed Employment Act was prepared after a comprehensive stakeholder consultation with the objective of achieving inclusive economic growth, he added.
He said that new laws are expected to be brought to make it mandatory to obtain the consent of the majority of the membership of a trade union (TU) if any trade union takes action.
He noted that that if there is an executive council of any trade union, 25% of its membership should be reserved for women.
He also said that the draft includes several new laws which are not included in the prevailing labour laws such as the laws to prevent discrimination in the workplace, the enactment of a five-day work week and laws to make flexible working hours according to the employee’s wishes.
“We have identified the need to bring legal provisions that provide opportunities to do part time jobs. So now, the opportunity has been given for everyone, especially younger ones to do so and laws will be brought to secure the same.
In addition to this, we have included the required provisions to provide the necessary space for female employees to work at night, subject to certain conditions,” he said.
According to the Minister, a National Wages Council will be established with the aim of introducing a minimum wage system according to current and accepted methods.
Speaking further, the Minister also mentioned that special attention has been given to the preparation of legal provisions regarding paternity leave and he said that he is working to introduce a uniform system regarding the amount of overtime work and the relevant payments to be made.
“Considering working from home as a new trend and with the idea of reducing expenses, we hope to take measures to make it popular among the public.
However, this draft includes the provisions to give employees the opportunity to work from home if it is possible. Also, legal provisions are brought to formalize foreign employees working in Sri Lanka. Laws are made to regulate it. Also, laws related to trainees and apprentices will be brought and correct interpretations regarding those laws will also be presented to prevent the exploitation of trainees and interns,” he said.
Nanayakkara also said that this draft will propose new laws to oblige the employer to deduct membership fees from the salaries and to send the union dues for the unfair labour practices carried out by the trade unions as it is currently accepted by the law. In addition to that, the Minister said that an electronic wage system will also be introduced with the new labour laws.