The first draft of an Employment Act seeks to remove existing restrictions on the payment of gratuity and allows for flexible working hours according to the needs of the employees among others.

Labour minister Manusha Nanayakkara said the draft has been shared with the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC).

That was done through a comprehensive stakeholder consultation with the objective of achieving inclusive economic growth, Nanayakkara tweeted.




Later, he told the media that the NLAC has been given time until July 21 to provide their input, ideas and proposals.

All the suggestions received would be considered, and necessary amendments incorporated before the bill is presented to the cabinet and then to parliament for approval.

He said the bill aims to bring significant reforms and improvements to the employment sector, with the current draft having 34 proposed provisions.

These include the introduction of legal provisions to prevent all forms of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, introduction of new provisions on occupational safety and health.

Also included are the removal of disparities between provisions of the Wages Boards Ordinance and the Shop and Office Employees Act regarding working terms and conditions as well as the relaxation of provisions for night work of female employees subject to certain conditions.

It also considers long-overlooked rights of part-time workers, domestic workers, trainees and apprentices, and those working from home.

The draft proposes to grant paternity leave for males.

It seeks to introduce provisions to prohibit unfair labour practices by trade unions and moots female representation in executive boards of trade unions and attempts to raise the number of members required to form a trade union.

Trade unions will be required to notify employers before the date of commencement of a strike and obtain majority consent of members for the strike.

The draft proposes to introduce provisions that require employers to obtain permission from the commissioner general of labour to lay off employees for a short period of time.

Provisions are also to be introduced to initiate the regularisation of manpower supply institutes and employment agencies.


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