Last updated on: April 27th, 2022
The Labor Law in Sri Lanka is governed by the Shop and Office Employees Act, 1956, the Factory Ordinance, the Minimum Wage Ordinance, the Maternity Benefits Ordinance, etc.
Under Shop and Office Employees Act, “office” means any establishment maintained for the purpose of the transaction of the business of any bank, broker, the insurance company, shipping company, joint-stock or other company, estate agent, advertising agent, commission agent, or forwarding or indenting agent. Shop constitutes any premises in which any retail or wholesale business is carried on, and includes a residential hotel and any place where the business of the sale of articles of food or drink or the business of a barber or hairdresser or any other prescribed trade or business is carried on. It does not include factory workers.
Hours & Pay Regulations
During the first year of employment during which an employee has been continuously in employment that person shall be entitled to take –
- where the employment commences on or after the first day of January but before the first day of April, a holiday of 14 days with full remuneration;
- where the employment commences on or after the first day of April but before the first day of July, a holiday of 10 days with full remuneration;
- where the employment commences on or after the first day of July but before the first day of October, a holiday of 7 days with full remuneration; and
- where the employment commences on or after the first day of October a holiday of 4 days with full remuneration, and the employer shall allow such holiday and be liable to pay such remuneration.
For the second or any subsequent year of employment during which an employee has been continuously in employment, that employment shall be entitled to take a holiday of 14 calendar days with full remuneration, of which not less than 7 days shall be consecutive days, and the employer shall allow such holiday and be liable to pay such remuneration.
An employee’s annual leave entitlement must be taken in the year immediately succeeding the year to which the entitlement relates, on days to be agreed upon by the employer and the employee. Any absence due to holiday or leave with full remuneration will be considered as days worked for the purpose of continuity of employment of any employee.
In case a person is terminated without notice the employer shall pay full remuneration.
Where an employee is entitled to and has been allowed annual leave or sick leave and any such annual leave or sick leave falls on a day on which the employee is entitled to any weekly rest day or public holiday, then, such employee shall be allowed the weekly rest or public holiday which he is entitled, as the case may be, in addition to the annual leave or sick leave which has already been allowed to that employee. Shop and the Office Employees Act, 1956, Sec 6, 51.
The current minimum wage of Sri Lanka is 12, 500 LKR/month.
In respect of each year of employment during which any person has been continuously in employment in or about the business of any shop or office, that person shall be entitled to take on account of private business, ill-health, or other reasonable cause, leave with full remuneration for a period or an aggregate of periods not exceeding seven days per year, and the employer shall allow such leave and be liable to pay such remuneration.
The leave to which a person is entitled in respect of the first year of his employment may be taken in that year and shall be computed on the basis of 1 day for each complete period of two month’s service. The leave to which a person is entitled in respect of the second or any subsequent year of his employment may be taken in such a year of employment. Shop and Office Employees Act, 1956, Sec 6.
The duration of maternity leave is 12 weeks (84 days) excluding weekly holidays, Poya days, and statutory holidays. Out of these 12 weeks, 2 weeks maternity leave is before confinement (including the day of her confinement) and 10 weeks following the day of confinement, and 6 weeks in case of the birth of a stillborn child, irrespective of a prior number of children. In the case of the shop and office workers, the leave is reduced to 28 days if the confinement does not result in the delivery of a live child.
The entitlement to twelve weeks’ paid leave is regardless of the number of children the employee has at the time of the confinement. If a woman employee passes away during her maternity leave, the leave-in respect of which the payment is to be made by the employer is only up to and including the date of death.
Pay – Maternity Leave under the Shop and Office Employees Act is fully paid leave while under the Maternity Benefits Ordinance, 6/7th (86%) of a worker’s wages are paid for the period.
Maternity benefits are provided to a woman who has worked at least one hundred and fifty days within the period of one year, under the employer from whom she claims such benefit, immediately preceding the date of the notice that women may give to the employer before confinement. Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Act, (No. 15 of 2018), Section 2.
Breast Feeding Break
Maternity Benefits Ordinance provides for two paid breaks, each of at least 30-minute duration during nine hours of the working day, till the child is one year old.
The employer should provide nursing facilities to the workers for nursing their children. The duration of each nursing break is 30 minutes if a creche or other suitable place is provided by the employer; otherwise, it would not be less than one hour. Nursing breaks are provided in addition to the meal or rest break provided and they are regarded as time worked.