Mechanism to ensure job security of private sector employees

Nimal Siripala De Silva

A mechanism is in place to ensure the job security of private sector employees, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said yesterday (24) in Parliament.

Accordingly, Minister De Silva pointed out that employers have agreed to a system that allows private sector employees who are not called to work or are unable to come to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic to choose from either receiving half of the basic monthly salary or receiving Rs.14,500, whichever is more beneficial to the employee. De Silva also stated that this mechanism will not affect the employees who are currently employed.

Minister De Silva stated that any employee can lodge a grievance if he or she has been subjected to an injustice before the Commissioner General of Labour, and the grievances will be reviewed by an Employer-Employee Committee once a week.

The Minister pointed out that this is not a pay cut at all and that it was a good practice to maintain job security.

Minister De Silva was replying to a question raised by Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP S.M. Marikkar during the Oral Questions Round in Parliament yesterday (24).

The Minister added that even workers who are informally employed and who are not registered can complain to the Department of Labour regarding any injustice.

“This is in line with the agreement reached on the payment of wages to private sector workers, job security and in restricting workers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Task Force on Employees’ and Trade Unions representing the National Labor Council,” Minister De Silva explained.

“The employer must pay the contributions to the Employees Provident Fund and the Employees Trust Fund for such wages. The Government will conduct an inquiry into the institutions that do not pay such contributions. The First Phase of the mechanism was implemented in May and June 2020 as a step towards job security for private sector employees. This process has received the approval by the Cabinet. This mechanism was extended to employees in the tourism industry in October, November and December 2020. If any organisation outside the sector wants to implement this concession, it needs the approval of the Commissioner General of Labour. The Task Force comprising employers and trade unions agreed to implement this concessionary mechanism and the Ministry of Labour had only provided guidance and assistance in this regard,” the Minister observed.

When asked by MP Marikkar about the dismissal of some employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister said that if the services of an employee had been unfairly terminated, a complaint can be filed with the Commissioner of Labour to seek justice under the Termination of Service Act.

“Accordingly, about 200 complaints have been received recently and legal action has been taken in connection with most of these complaints,” Minister De Silva disclosed.

(Source: Daily News – By Sandasen MARASINGHE, Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi)