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Sri Lankan Law Forum » Employment Law Forum » Holidays and Leave Privileges of Employees in Sri Lanka

Holidays and Leave Privileges of Employees in Sri Lanka

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Employees who are occupied in an office or shop will be administered by the Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act No. 19 of 1954 (“SOEA”).

Weekly Holidays

According to the regulations of the SOEA, a member of staff who works for no fewer than 28 hours (exclusive of breaks and overtime) in any one week should be permitted to one and a half days of paid holidays in that said week or the week that follows immediately after that. Usually such weekly holidays are given as a half day on Saturday and a complete day on Sunday. It is also ordinary for the majority of the organizations to offer a complete holiday on Saturday also.

Any worker who is necessitated to work on any weekly holiday is permitted to a sum at the overtime amount in agreement with the procedure illustrated above.

Constitutional Holidays

Office and shop workers are permitted to a salaried holiday on all constitutional holidays. Presently such holidays are as below:

Tamil Thai-Pongal
National Day
Milad-Un-Nabi (Holy Prophet’s Birthday)
Day preceding the Sinhala and Tamil New Year
Sinhala and Tamil New Year Day
May Day
Day subsequent to the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day
Christmas Day
As maintained by the stringent application of the SOEA, the consent of the Commissioner of Labour is mandatory for an office or shop member of staff to work on a constitutional holiday. Nevertheless, in general practice in the event where a member of the staff works on a constitutional holiday, then such workers are given a substitute holiday on any day prior to 31st of December of that said year or salaried an additional day’s income.

Poya Days and Mercantile Holidays

All workers are permitted to a holiday on a full moon Poya day. Nonetheless, a worker could be engaged in work on such a day given that the said employee is paid no less than one and a half times the typical daily salary. If a mercantile holiday or Poya day falls on a constitutional holiday or what is habitually a full or half weekly holiday, a substitute holiday does not need be granted in lieu.

Annual Holiday/Leave

An office or shop worker is permitted to 14 days of Yearly Leave complete with the full salary for each concluded year of service. The SOEA entails that no fewer than seven days be permitted on a successive basis. In value of the first year of service, a worker is permitted to a fair leave that is calculated as below:

14 days if service began on or after the 1st of January but before the 1st of April
10 days if service began on or after the 1st of April but before the 1st of July
7 days if service began on or after the 1st of July but before the 1st of October
4 days if service began on or after the 1st of October but before the 31st of December
Besides the Annual Leave, an office or shop worker will be permitted to seven days of informal leave in respect of every calendar year. Informal leave for the initial year of service can be taken on the foundation of one day for every concluded period of two months service.

The maximum Annual Leave or holiday claims for workers in the building industry will be one holiday for every unit of 18 days the employee had worked (maximum operational days will be 252) and a maximum of 14 days.

For workers occupied in the engineering industry, a maximum of 14 days holidays with seven days to be taken successively.

Maternity Leave

Under the SOEA, for the birth of an employee’s first child, or where the employee already has one child and for the birth of the second child, the employee is permitted eighty four (84) days paid leave. Such leave can be availed of as 14 days pre-confinement leave and seventy (70) days post confinement leave.

In the event of the birth of a third or subsequent child (where the employee already has two previous children, both alive – otherwise, her entitlement will remain as 84 days) the entitlement of leave shall be 42 working days, which can be availed of as fourteen 14 days pre-confinement leave and 28 days post-confinement leave.

If a female employee passes away during her maternity leave, the leave in respect of which the payment is to be made by the employer is only up to and including the date of death.

Female workers not covered by the SOEA will be covered by the Maternity Benefits Ordinance No.32 of 1939. (“MBO”)

In the event of females covered under the MBO, the leave entitlement allotted for the first and second child is a total of 12 weeks (superseding non-working days to be included).

The leave entitlement for the third child or subsequent child or deceased child or a viable fetus is 06 weeks (intervening non-working days to be included).

If a female passes away during her maternity leave, the leave in respect of which payment must be made is only up to and including the date of her death.

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