Skip links

A common security scheme, free of EPF and ETF, is set to be established within the next three months- Manusha

Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment, Manusha Nanayakkara said that a new social security program covering the entire workforce of the country will be presented to the Cabinet within the next three months and a common social security system will be prepared by combining all the social security systems that have been implemented so far. The Minister said the first meeting of the Committee that was established related to the implementation of this social security program met recently and it was decided to submit its report to the Cabinet within the next three months. Minister Nanayakkara said this during the meeting held today (10) with the plumbers and painters under the “Garu Saru” program initiated by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment to give respect and protection to the labour of all those employed in the informal sector in Sri Lanka.

During his speech, the Minister also said:

“When decisions are taken from inside the rooms and taken to the people, it is difficult to plant them on the ground as they are not practical. That’s why we are working to launch programs like this to take people’s opinions and provide answers to their problems.
Accordingly, the “Garu Saru” program was implemented. Under this program, we expect to create professional dignity and safety in the entire workforce. We launched this program to give respect and protection to all the people in informal sector jobs who have not received proper respect and protection for a long time. We have been blaming politicians for 75 years for not giving due respect to the people working in the informal sector for so long. But blaming them will not make any difference and therefore we must change this. We are doing this to create the necessary environment towards accomplishing this goal.

But it is not going to do any change by having titles like Mr. or Sir before the names to give respect. For that, what needs to be done is to create a proper system. We still don’t have a method to grade or a standard for plumbers. Until such a standard is implemented, these professions will not get the due respect they deserve.

Also, if we want to paint, we bring a few people to paint, but there is no method to find out what is the suitability of that person to do it.
I recently received an invitation from a foreign country to provide painters for employment. They also said that they have the ability to earn about Rs. 1.2 million rupees in Sri Lankan money as monthly wages. I called for an interview accordingly. Painters from across our country came for it. But none of those people were selected because we have not adapted to the level of training or standards that they expect to do that job.

In fact, we are a little behind in terms of the methods we follow. So if we can create standards in this regard then your profession will be able to get proper respect. We need to build your career to that level. But that is not something that is in the scope of our ministry. They should be prepared through other institutions. Everyone has a collective responsibility here. Also, as the Minister of Labour, I have a responsibility to treat all the workers of this country equally. We are first talking about twenty areas as a pilot program under the “Garu Saru” program.
However, with your participation, we hope to establish an organization similar to the Lawyers’ Association, the Medical Association and the Architects’ Association. This is a professional association recognized by the government. But the most important thing we need to understand is that this is not just another trade union.

And the laws related to this have been prepared under the new Employment Insurance Act. Also, a separate chapter for professional dignity has been introduced under the new act. The Board that you form today will determine your standards. We are working to provide them to other government institutions. We have been able to create a situation where an architect’s signature is required during construction and who is doing the wiring to be stipulated at the same time as the plan is approved. With that, we have worked to give respect to the skilled workers who are involved in the wiring profession. Our hope is to create respect for you in the same way.

Therefore, if you use someone from somewhere to install the pipes, it will not give respect to your profession. You are the one who makes the rules and standards related to this. After giving them to me, they will be gazetted and work will be done to give them legal status. You can also arrange to introduce a licensing system. You have to decide the necessary qualifications for that too. That way anyone can’t engage in your profession. Then only someone who has a license will be able to practice your profession. These established committees or organizations do not have officials from government institutions. Only you are in them.

Also, the program has now started to bring together all working people who do not contribute to a social security system into a social security network. The first meeting of the related committee was held recently.
After three to four months, we have to present to the Cabinet a system for including the entire Sri Lankan workforce in a social security system. We are currently doing related activities on this matter.
We are working to establish an insurance system to cover those in case of job loss, a system to take care of those when they are unemployed due to old age and physical disabilities. For this purpose, we have to do a good study of the working methods of foreign countries like Indonesia, America, Australia, and we are prepared to take appropriate decisions by getting the support of the International Labour Organization.

Minister Manusha Nanayakkara added that in future they hope to implement a common program for all working people in the country instead of so many separate funds called EPF, a separate fund called ETF, as well as so many insurance schemes, agricultural insurances and other different insurance systems. He said that all necessary arrangements are being made for that and that the Ministry officials are working to prepare these within three to four months.



This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.