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F A Q on Covid -19 - Numerous employment issues faced by the business community


Tyronne Weerackody Attorney at Law, Solicitor (Eng. & Wales)  

Q1- Can the employer terminate a permanent employee?

- Covid 19 pandemic shall not be the reason for termination.

Q2- Can the employer terminate probationary employee?

- Covid 19 pandemic shall not be the reason for termination; nevertheless an employer may terminate a probationary employee only if the work of the employee is not satisfactory during the period of probation.

Q3- Can the employer terminate fixed term contractual employee?

- Covid 19 pandemic shall not be the reason for termination, yet an employer may extend the contract at the end of the contractual period without renewing. In the event of termination before the contractual period expires, the employer will be liable to pay the salary for the balance period.

Q4- Can the employer reduce the salary of a permanent employee?

- The law does not permit an employer to unilaterally reduce the salary without the consent of the employee.

Q5- Can the employer reduce the salary of a Fixed term contractual employee?

- The law does not permit an employer to unilaterally reduce the salary without the consent of the employee.

Q6- What is a deduction?

- Deduction = Statutory Deductions. (Eg: EPF , ETF)

Q7- What is a reduction?

- Reductions = Salary cuts

Q8- How much can be deducted from the salary?

- Only “authorized deductions” as per Part II of Shop and Office Employees’ Act

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Q9- How-much can be reduced from the salary?

- Nothing can be reduced from the salary unilaterally.

Q10- What is the legal method of reducing the salary?

- Only with the consent of the employee.

Q11- What is the legal method of terminating a permanent employee?

- Services can be terminated for disciplinary reasons or otherwise acting under Sec. 2 of Termination of Employment of Workers (Special Provisions) Act

Q12- What is the legal method of terminating a probationary employee?

- Unsatisfactory performance of a probationer, services of a probationary employee can be terminated anytime during the period of probation.

Q13- Can the employer assign a different or new duties to an employee?

- An employer may assign different and new duties as along as he is capable of performing those duties as per his designation and the said new assignment is not downgrading.

Q14- What are remedies available to employees or employers in a dispute?

- Failing to resolve by way of mutual settlement, disputes may be referred to Commissioner of Labor. Industrial Disputes Act provides for the Commissioner of Labor or the Minister of Labor to intervene and settle disputes through conciliation or by arbitration.

- In the event of ‘unfair termination’ of employment, employee may refer the matter to Labor Tribunal

Q15- What is known as Tripartite Agreement Reached to Pro-rate Wages Based on Varied Levels of Deployment circulated by EFC as Circular No: 31/2020 on 8th May 2020?

- This is a guideline issued by the Employees Federation upon reaching an agreement with respective parties.

Q16- Do the employers still have to get the consent of the employees if the employer wish to follow the Triparty Agreement guidelines issued by the Employees Federation Ceylon?


-Yes


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