Sri Lanka’s premier employers organization, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon has urged the Government to introduce a proper framework to regulate work place relations to ensure smooth operations in enterprises with speedy dispute resolution at work places. The Employers’ Federation has submitted a proposal to introduce a new “Workplace Relations Act” and repealing industrial Disputes (Amendment) Act No.56 of 1999 requesting the government to include it in policy proposals in relation to labour and employment in the budget proposals for 2012.
In a letter to the Secretary to the Treasury, the Employers’ Federation noted that the framework to regulate work place relations will encompass rights of employees to freely associate, collectively bargain and safeguard the rights of employers. The proposed legislation very clearly recognizes the right to Freedom of Association, recognition of Trade Unions/Worker Organizations and unfair labour practices on the part of both employers and workers/Trade Unions, the Federation said.
The Employers’ Federation has also suggested the government to grant the option to employers to spread over the working hours not exceeding more that one hour a day on a short working day, on the other days of the week in a manner that would not exceed 45 hours a week. In doing so, no additional payment needs to be made even though an employee would work an additional extra hour from Monday to Friday in order to be relieved from work on the short working day. Such an arrangement should only take place subject to the mutual agreement on the part of the employer and the workers/trade unions on behalf of workers, the Federation said.
The need to regularize night work for women under the Shop and Office Employees Act No.19 of 1954 (as amended) has been emphasized by the Federation to enable female employees in the business of IT-enabled services to work during the night in an office. It has also proposed that an amendment be brought in to the Act under Section 10 by an insertion of an additional provision that would enable any female who has attained the age of 18 years to be employed in the business of a shop, which is in the nature of a supermarket store for the period, or any part of the period between 6.00 p.m and 11.00 p.m.