Labor Department received 15,000 complaints since March 2020

  • Majority Covid related job losses

  • Govt ensuring compensation from employers 

By Pamodi Waravita


Approximately 15,000 complaints have been made to the Department of Labour since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, which forced the closure of a number of workplaces, with the vast majority of the complaints to do with the termination of employment. 

Speaking to The Morning, Commissioner General of Labour Prabath Chandrakeerthi said that the Department had received over 12,000 complaints regarding the termination of employment in 2020. 

“We issued a public notice in March 2021, requesting new complaints as well. We specifically asked people who had not complained prior to March 2021 to come forward. Due to that notice, we received 1,310 complaints as well. Approximately, 15,000 people have faced job losses within the course of last year,” said Chandrakeerthi. 

Chandrakeerthi added that the initial complaints are being processed and that the Department has started the process of ensuring that compensation is received by the employees from their previous employers. 

Meanwhile, Chandrakeerthi also said that the Government’s tripartite agreement with the private sector, where employers have to pay either Rs. 14,500 or half the salary to employees who cannot come to work due to Covid-19 related lockdowns, has been extended until 30 June. 

As of January 2021, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) recorded an unprecedented loss in global employment, amounting to nearly 114 million jobs in 2020 relative to 2019. Meanwhile, the World Bank noted that about 70% of Sri Lanka’s workforce, which is in the informal sector, were particularly vulnerable to job losses during the pandemic – especially those in the apparel sector. 

The public notice had requested those who were in the private sector and faced a loss of employment due to the pandemic to send their details to the Department before 1 April.