Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister John Seneviratne during the ‘Meet the Minister’ interactive session hosted by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka
Pic by Nisal Baduge
By Zahara Zuhair
A group of private sector employers recently requested the government to provide further relief to them with regard to the budgetary relief allowance, which is making a massive impact on their businesses.
The government tabled a bill for the payment of a budgetary relief allowance up to Rs.2, 500 to each private sector employee who draws a salary less than Rs.40, 000 a month, which came into effect last year.
“We were unhappy with the consultancy process that took place with regard to the budgetary relief allowance; it could have been better.
If you look at the Hansard, the Finance Minister in February 2015 recommended that Rs.2500 increase can be linked to the productivity-related basis,” Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Director General/CEO Kanishka Weerasinghe said.
“I sincerely expect that the Labour Department will take your directions and give us further relief. Because of it, the impact has been severe; our confidence to give an increase has been impacted,” Weerasinghe told Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister John Seneviratne, during the ‘Meet the Minister’ programme, an interactive session with the business community, hosted by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL).
Meanwhile, with regard to the national minimum wage, which came into effect from January 1, 2016, which set the national minimum monthly wage for all workers in any industry or service at Rs.10,000 and national minimum daily wage for a worker at Rs.400, the employers said as they extended their support towards it, there should be a mechanism for it.
They proposed to have a ‘national pay commission’ and link it to the national minimum wage mechanism to give directions to the minimum wage setting mechanism.
The employers also voiced their concerns over the negative impacts certain implemented legislations have caused to their businesses, causing tension between the employees and employers, which hampers the goodwill, ability to pay bonuses and worker productivity.
However, responding to it, the minister said that these legislations were implemented as election promises and the government has to honour them.