- Employers required to inform implementation to Labour Commissioner in writing
- Tourism industry exempted from informing Labour Department
- EFC says employees and trade union representatives retain right to furnish any grievance directly to Labour Commissioner
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
The national tripartite agreement to prorate wages will be extended until December 31, 2020—a decision that was reached taking into account the recent spike in the number of COVID-19-infected persons in the country, leading to partial closure of businesses.
The labour minister had agreed with the extension, after considering the current developments as represented by the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC).
The coverage will be for the period from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, the EFC said in a special communiqué to employers.
However, the employers in all industries, with the exception of tourism (which includes the travel, hospitality, hotels, including restaurant sectors), are required to write to the Commissioner General of Labour, informing the implementation of the agreement while citing their requirements as well.
Under the national tripartite agreement, the employers, whose operations/businesses are affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, either permanently or temporarily and who are not in a position to offer work to their employees, are eligible to apply and pay prorated wages on the basis of 50 percent of the wage or Rs.14,500 per month, whichever is higher, on the days that they are unable to offer work.
“As in the past, the employers are encouraged to rotate employees when offering work in situations where they have not been able to operate at full capacity, due to the implications of the pandemic and as a result, have not been able to deploy their full cadre of workers,” the EFC said.
The EFC added that the employees and trade union representatives would retain the right to furnish any grievance directly to the Commissioner General of Labour for redress. Furthermore, special arrangements have been made at the Secretariat for EFC members to submit their requests.
Soon after the initial outbreak of the pandemic in Sri Lanka, where a two-month islandwide lockdown was imposed, the government established a COVID-19 tripartite task force, aiming to safeguard the interests of workers and employers through social dialogue.
On May 5, the task force reached an agreement applicable to all sectors, ensuring payment of wages and employment within the existing legal framework. The agreement was endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers on May 14.
The agreement that has a validity period of three months was extended in June, till October 2020. With the country witnessing a second COVID-19 wave, the agreement has been extended for another three months.