Plans to transfer public sector workers to private sector 

  • Public Administration Min. Secy. says committee appointed to provide recommendations on shift
  • Committee includes one member each from Ceylon Chamber, Employers’ Federation
  • Exporters willing to absorb public employees



By Imesh Ranasinghe 


It is not only the excess State sector employees but all public sector workers that should be allowed to work in the private sector, in order to understand and overcome the bottlenecks in both private and State sectors, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils, and Local Government M.M.P.K. Mayadunne said.

Speaking to The Morning Business, he said that the Ministry has appointed a committee to provide recommendations on allowing the excess employees of the State sector to work in the private sector, especially in export and export-oriented agriculture sectors.

He said the committee includes the Secretary to the Ministry, a member from the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, and the Director General of the Employer’s Federation of Ceylon.

He noted that the excess employees in the State sector will be allowed to work for five years in the private sector on contract basis.

“But my personal opinion is that we should allow all the State workers to work in the private sector,” he added, opining that this would teach the State sector employees to understand the value of the facilities they are afforded, from the rooms provided to the air-conditioning in the room.

“They will be able to experience the full package. They will be able to understand the bottlenecks faced by the private and the State sector,” he added.

Meanwhile, the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lankan (NCE) has written to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, informing that Sri Lankan exporters are proposing to absorb public sector employees into the private the sector to relieve the burden of wages and related costs on the Government.

In a statement, the NCE said that the export sector has been able to sustain business and has also reached the pre-pandemic level of an average of $ 1 billion export revenue during the period January to April 2022. 

“Before the dawn of the pandemic, exporters were facing difficulties with a lack of skilled workers. However, during the pandemic, many exporters were compelled to downsize operations and lay off employees which have created a vacuum in crucial areas of operations,” it added.

In the current scenario, the NCE said that considering the financial burden and the reportedly excessive workforce attached to the public sector, NCE member exporters are proposing the following options in reaching a win-win agreement for both the Government and the export sector. 

It proposed that any Government employee in the permanent cardre be eligible to apply for employment in the export sector, excluding those from the Department of Police, Department of Inland Revenue, Department of Customs and Department of Excise, as they are involved in law enforcement in the country, which may lead to a conflict of interests.

Also, it proposed that the Government grant unpaid leave up to a maximum of 59 months, where employers will offer a “Temporary Labour Contract” to selected individuals.

The Temporary Labour Contract is proposed to include the period of contract for 59 months because on completion of the 60th month, the employee will be eligible for gratuity, while their employment will be in accordance with the laws and statutes under which the respective private sector company’s employees of a similar cadre are employed, including other leave entitlements and termination of employment.