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New Act for workplaces using factory equipment

  • Labour Tribunals to be empowered in series of labour reforms 

 

As part of a series of reforms envisioned for the legislative framework governing labour, the relevant state and governmental authorities have proposed the repeal and replacement of the Factories Ordinance to allow for the regulation of all workplaces that use factory-type equipment.

The existing Factories Ordinance, No, 45 of 1942 as amended, only provides for the regulation of workplaces that are registered as factories, the employment of workers therein, and for the administration of health and safety-related provisions within these workplaces.  

These changes, along with others to certain sections of the labour laws, are being discussed and drafted at present by the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Justice.

“We are drafting a new Act that would allow us to go into places like hotels, bakeries, and supermarkets that use equipment such as boilers. It will also consider workplace employee welfare-related aspects,” Commissioner General of Labour Prabath Chandrakeerthi told The Morning.

However, according to Chandrakeerthi, the new Act, which would be similar to the Factories Ordinance, would repeal the said Ordinance, only approximately 10 years after its implementation.

The series of planned labour reforms also includes the empowerment of Labour Tribunals (LTs), The Morning learnt.

“We hope to bring in a new Act that would vest the Tribunals with powers similar to those afforded to Magistrate’s Courts (MCs). This is to expedite the backlog of cases pertaining to labour issues,” said Chandrakeerthi.

Chandrakeerthi added that discussions with the Ministry of Justice regarding the LTs are in their final stages.

Currently, the LTs are mandated by the Industrial Disputes Act, No. 43 of 1950 as amended.