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    New Year bonanza for private sector employees and migrant workers Featured

    December 29, 2019

    The Government will be enhancing benefits to the country’s more than 2 million employees in the formal private sector and migrant workers with the implementation of its national policy.The National Policy Framework approved by the cabinet recently has spelt out measures necessary to protect private sector employees as well as migrant workers.An enabling working environment will be created for private sector employees with the strengthening of social security laws.

    The minimum wage of the private sector workers will be increased by Rs.2,500 to Rs. 12,500 from the existing Rs.10,000, in accordance with the government’s private sector policy.The National Policy has made mandatory for employers to report the recruitment of new employees to the Department of Labour within one week of their appointments to relevant posts.Measures will be taken to amend relevant legislation to ensure a conducive environment for private sector employment,

    An insurance scheme will be introduced for the benefit of private sector employees when they become unemployed.On behalf of private sector workers, the Sri Lanka IndustriALL Council of five trade unions has continued a struggle since 2015 through the National Labour Advisory Council to win their demand of private sector minimum wage of Rs.25,000 as Rs.12,500 was not sufficient.

    Heeding to trade union demands the previous government gazetted a bill to increase the minimum monthly wage of the workers of the private sector to Rs. 12,500 from Rs. 10,000 in October 2019.But the new wages have not become effective as the National Minimum Wage of Workers Act (Amendment) Bill has not been presented in Parliament in view of Presidential elections.The present government will have to present a new amendment bill in parliament to legalise the Rs.12,500 minimum wage, official sources said adding that it can also allow the bill to be carried over by order from one session to another, subject to certain restrictions.

    According to the National Policy Framework, migrant workers remittances as well as the earnings and savings will be exempted from income taxes and foreign currency bank accounts will be made tax free.A special loan scheme will be introduced to enable those who return to Sri Lanka after foreign employment to commence tax-exempt enterprises.
    A duty-free vehicle permit will be given for migrant workers and Sri Lankans abroad who have remitted US$50,000 annually continuously for a period of 10 years. Migrant workers who have been in employment abroad for a period of over six years are eligible to a contributory pension scheme under the new policy.

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