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Employees’ salaries cannot be unilaterally reduced – EFC Chairman

Employees’ salaries cannot be unilaterally reduced – EFC Chairman

Chairman of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Pravir Samarasinghe asserted yesterday that the salaries of employees cannot be unilaterally reduced.

He was responding to a question as to whether employers could escape by unilaterally reducing salaries claiming some that the companies or other state sector organizations did not have funds citing COVID 19.

An agreed salary in a contract between an employer and employee should not be unilaterally reduced by the employer. Any reduction is any must be done by consent of the employee.

“Notwithstanding the above premise , an historic tripartite agreement was reached recently between the Ministry of Labour, employee representatives and employer representatives in which it was agreed that employees who cannot work or work cannot be made available to them due to the Government restrictions imposed due to the COVID 19 pandemic, may be subjected to a proportionate reduction of their salaries up to 50% of salary or a living minimum wage of Rs 14,500/- per month , whichever is higher for the days benched at home during the months of May and June 2020,” he said.

On the other hand, if an employer has no financial capacity to pay its salary obligations due to its financial predicament, such employers may apply to the Commissioner of Labour for a bespoke solution that may be determined by the Commissioner of Labour or follow the normal provisions available in the Labour laws of the country, the EFC Chief said. Meanwhile, Secretary to the Ministry of Labour Sarath Abeygunawardena , when contacted, said that what was in operation now, was the Tripartite Agreement for the months of May and June due to the COVID pandemic and that if any employee or employer had any grievances, he or she was most welcome to contact the Commissioner- General of Labour.

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