Laws Relating to Work and Sickness in Sri Lanka

Sickness Benefits in Sri Lanka: Sick leave can be availed of in the event a worker cannot present him/herself for work due to ill-health. Find out provisions relating to sick leave under different labour laws in Sri Lanka.

What are the provisions relating to sick leave under the different labour laws in Sri Lanka?

Sick leave can be availed of  in the event a worker cannot present him/herself for work due to ill-health.

There are laws which provide for equitable distribution of leave of absence for employees in different categories of the labour sectors such as in the private sector [Shop and Offices Employees’ (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act], public sector (Establishment Code) and in trainees in the private sector [Employment of Trainees (Private Sector) Act] and .

Under the law a person who has completed a year of continuous service in the public or private sector is entitled to avail sick leave of not more than seven days with full remuneration.

Similarly a trainee worker in the private sector is entitled to avail sick leave on the grounds of ill-health for a period not exceeding seven days with full payment of allowances available to him/her.

In all cases sick leave applications must be supported by a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner.

While technically maternity leave is not considered a period of ill-health, it does result in a non-productivity in the work place. Maternity leave is granted to workers under Shop and Office Employees Act and women are entitled to avail maternity leave on the following basis;

  • 84 working days leave in respect of the first two live births
  • 42 working days leave in respect of the third and subsequent births for confinements resulting in the issue of a viable fetus.

The Maternity Benefits Ordinance grants women in the public service maternity leave on the following basis:

  • Full pay for 84 working days, and thereafter
  • a further 84 working days on half pay, and yet another
  • 84 working days without pay.

There is no restriction on the number of children with regard to the public service.

There are no special financial provisions during the period of confinement except the full salary for all women workers. However women in the plantation sector are encouraged to return to work earlier on, since most of the plantation companies provide crèches and day care centres on the estates for the newborns and younger children.

Most workers avail themselves of the casual leave allocated on an annual basis in the event of short illnesses and prefer to save their sick leave component in the event they require longer periods away from work due to ill-health.

What are the provisions related to accidents or sickness caused during the course of work?

The Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance of 1935 addresses the compensation payment procedures that must be followed in the event of injury or death during the course of work. Many organizations insure their workforce in order to meet hospitalization and other costs as well as death benefits that can arise in the event of an accident in the work place.

Persons working as members of the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka, other than those persons employed in a civilian capacity in those Forces, and members of the Police Force are not included under this Ordinance.

What are the laws relating to workers living with HIV/AIDS?

Under the Constitution of Sri Lanka, Article 12 (2) guarantees freedom from discrimination on grounds of race, religion, language, caste, gender or any such grounds. The State is obliged to ensure that not only in the public sector but also in the private sector; discrimination against workers living with HIV/AIDS does not take place under the category ‘any such grounds’.

While there is no special legislation addressing the rights and protection of workers living with HIV/AIDS, Sri Lanka has a national policy titled: The National Policy on the World of Work in Sri Lanka

What are laws relating to medical insurance or medical facilities for employees?

While there is no law stipulating that the workforce of organizations must be insured for medical needs, most organizations and manufacturing outfits have insured themselves and their workers with regard to outpatients care, hospitalization and compensation. The liability of employers to provide medical care and compensation to the workforce is legislated through the Factories Ordinance, Employment of Trainee (Private Sector) Act, Workmen’s Compensation Ordinance et al.

What are the provisions for medical help or medical bonus during pregnancy/ miscarriage/ medical termination of pregnancy/tubectomy operation?

There are no special provisions legislated. However, some organizations may provide such assistance at their discretion.

What does the law stipulate about the hazardous process functioning for the workers?

All occupational safety and health issues are legislated in Sri Lanka under the Factories Ordinance 1950 and subsequent amendments in 1976, 1998, 2000 and 2000. Labour Department engineers, specialist doctors and chemists systematically and regularly conduct health and safety training inside factories for workers. By Section 101, the Ordinance empowers The Commissioner, the Chief Factory Inspecting Engineer, and others as per the Section to enter, inspect and examine by day or night any premises, in order to fully implement the law. See Occupational Safety and Health Laws for more information on occupational health and safety in the workplace.