National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka

national chamber of exporters of sri lanka


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NCE submits win-win offer to support Govt. amidst economic crisis

  • Tables 3-point proposal to absorb State workers into private sector for stipulated timeline to relieve Govt. burden on costs

Given the worsening economic crisis, the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) has submitted a far-reaching proposal to absorb State sector workers into private sector to relieve the burden on wages and related costs of the Government.

The NCE submitted a three-point proposal to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the Finance, Economic Stabilisation, and National Policies Minister, earlier this week.

The three key proposals include; 1) any Government employee in the permanent cadre is eligible to apply for employment in the export sector, 2) Government to grant unpaid leave up to a maximum of 59 months only, and 3) the employer will offer a ‘Temporary Labour Contract’ to such selected individuals.

Before the dawn of the pandemic, exporters were facing difficulties with a lack of skilled workers. However, during the pandemic, many exporters were compelled to downsize operations and lay off employees which created a vacuum in crucial areas of operations. 

Although the labour requirements of export companies vary according to the relevant industry, the NCE explained that in general all categories could be considered. 

The supportive gesture by the private sector was described as a win-win for both Government and exporters.

For 10 consecutive months from June 2021 to March 2022, exports recorded over $ 1 billion, proving the private sector’s resilience and becoming the only sector which generates a fixed inflow of much-needed foreign exchange. 

However, the NCE categorically calls on the Government to avoid employees from the Departments of Inland Revenue, Customs, Excise, and Police as they are involved in law enforcement in the country which may lead to a conflict of interests. 

The timeline of the temporary labour contract is limited to only 59-months, as on completion of the 60th month, the employee will be eligible for Gratuity. 

However, NCE assures their employment will be in line with the laws and statutes under which the respective private sector company’s employees of similar cadre are employed, whilst leave entitlement will be as per the employer’s policy on holiday. In the case of maternity leave, several stipulated days will be available as unpaid leave.

The employment contract can be terminated with either party by giving 30-days written notice. The NCE also noted that at the end of 59 months, the Government must absorb the individuals back into the public sector employment as per pertinent rules and regulations.