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Ensuring Business Continuity based on Values of Sustainable Enterprises PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 April 2020 13:59

Special Communique to Employers

>   We are mindful that many of you are in the midst of taking numerous measures to minimize the negative implication of the ongoing pandemic from the point of view of business continuity and safeguarding job security of employees.

>  If not for the timely action taken by the Government of Sri Lanka, our country would have also suffered the fate that many countries around the globe that are now grappling with a health emergency not witnessed by the world for decades. Going by the recent prognosis issued by the authorities, we can look forward to a faster resumption of normalcy. Needless to state, it will also make it incumbent upon us to be ready to resume economic activity and business at least in some measure. Such preparedness will no doubt be a factor that would also influence the decisions that you are making at present to safeguard the establishments under your management. The onus of having to take precautions against the spread of the Corvid 19 virus will be a priority.

>   The calls we have had from you since the beginning of crisis make it abundantly clear that these are difficult times for you & taking preemptive action is a priority for most if not all. However, in putting together and implementing strategy to sustain businesses, the founding principles of the Employer Federation of Ceylon are a good base to follow, which in essence require us to make use of dialogue as an essential tool in resolving issues relating to the world of work with our stakeholders, especially with our valued employees.

>  Like all stakeholders including us employers, employees are also deeply concerned about this pandemic and its ill-effects, particularly on their employers as well as issues concerning their health, income & job security. Hence, conducting our affairs transparently and in consultation with them is something they are bound to aspire for. It is an ideal opportunity to ‘walk’ the governance principles you have followed over the years and demonstrate your accountability as an employer.

>   In context, we thought of placing before you certain practices based on ‘suitability values’ that you have been adhering to, which can be used as guidelines when approaching problems and resolve them through consensus whilst keeping in mind the Laws that in place to protect the interests stakeholders. 

a)  Aside from being compliant with the Laws that govern the subject, the successful terms ‘re-negotiating of terms’ would very much depend on whether your employees are on board with the company’s objectives or not. In the current circumstances, which can only be described as unprecedented, an employer’s resolve to sustain the establishment whilst endeavoring to ensure job security are rationale that any reasonable person with prudence is likely to accept. Hence, it is for this reason that we encourage members to discuss and obtain employee concurrence prior to implementing necessary as well as sometimes inevitable changes to terms.

b)  As you are aware, the EFC is currently in discussion with the authorities to simplify processes relating certain laws that would enable employers to save working capital, implement decisions with regard to change with clarity and in manner that would not make them liable for redress at a future date. However, employers are expected to implement their solutions without compromising Laws that are in place to protect employee interests. In this regard we must understand that provisions of the Termination of Employment (Special Provisions) Act No 45 of 1971 (as amended) is a special Law that stipulates that even cases related to temporary non-employment situations, aside from retrenchments, are covered. The Law dictates that such situations should be dealt with in terms of the Act either with the consent of the employee or after obtaining sanction of the Commissioner General of Labour.

c) With new dictates on how we could operate in the future, it will be inevitable that changes to work arrangements etc. will also have to be made. As you have experienced in the past such changes are best implemented in discussion with employees, and we are mindful that these measures may even require the opening up of ‘collective agreements wherever applicable. One should not under-estimate social dialogue as a tool and its success rate in bringing about change. There are many examples that can be cited globally as well as how we came out of difficult situations after ‘working as one’. Importantly, implementing equitable solutions & the ‘feel good’ factor of working as a team, especially during hard times, are powerful determinants that make the difference between success or failure of even the most well-thought-out strategy.

>   In conclusion, we thought of placing the above values and parameters before you as you plan out strategy to overcome the challenges that you have to contend with on account of this pandemic and more importantly as you make plans to operate your business in a sustainable manner that will enable you to draw inspiration & succeed in all your future endeavors.

>   EFC members are privy to a host of services including unlimited access to advisory services from the most experienced team of professionals in Labour Law, Employment & Industrial / Employee Relations. As you know, personalized consultations are essential in planning strategy during a crisis as decisions to implement ‘one size fits for all’ is unlikely to yield results.

>   In addition, commencing during the week beginning 20th April, we’ll be conducting weekly web-based fora to guide members with their day-to-day employment related issues as well as special OSH guidelines and ergonomic related interventions. We may open some of these programmes to non-members on selected fee levying basis depending on availability of places.  

Wishing you good health and prosperity through business continuity for the festive season & beyond!

Kanishka Weerasinghe

Director General


For membership inquiries or fee based value added services for non-members , please contact Suranga Fernando on 077-7468778: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Satheeka Kavisekera on 0778880301: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 14:43

The EMPFED -Third Issue - June 2020