The National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) has given the below proposal to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and copied it to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government last week proposing to provide employment opportunities to government servants in the private sector companies for a specified period.
“Through media, we got to know that the Ministry of Public Administration has appointed a committee to look into the possibility of granting five years of leave to government employees to work in the private sector. To relieve the burden of wages and related costs on the Government, the Sri Lankan exporters are ready to absorb public sector employees for employment in their sector,” the NCE said.
The export sector has been able to sustain business and has also reached the pre-pandemic level of an average of USD one billion in 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 an employee who has created a vacuum in crucial areas of operations.
In the current scenario, 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 is to be noted that labour requirements of exporters vary according to the relevant industry, yet in general, all categories could be considered.
Any government employee in the permanent cadre is eligible to apply for employment in the export sector, excluding the Department of Police, Department of Inland Revenue, Department of Customs and Department of Excise.
“This is because these institutions are involved in law enforcement in the country which may lead to a conflict of interests.”
The Chamber said that the Government should grant unpaid leave up to a maximum of 59 months. Employers will offer a ‘Temporary Labour Contract’ to such selected individuals.
This will include: a) Period of contract for 59 months (because on completion of the 60th month, the employee will be eligible for Gratuity.) b) Their employment will be under the laws and statutes under which the respective private sector company’s employees of similar cadre are employed. c) Leave entitlement as per employer’s policy on leave d) Employment contract can be terminated with either party giving 30 days’ written notice e) In case of maternity leave, several stipulated days will be available as unpaid leave f) At the end of 59 months, the government to absorb such individuals back to the public sector employment as per pertinent rules and regulations.