Department of Labour initiates review of draft National Labour Inspection Policy for Sri Lanka

The ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives in collaboration with the Department of Labour conducted a one-day workshop on 8th April 2019 to revisit the existing draft National Labour Inspection Policy for Sri Lanka

The Government, through its labour administration system, bears a heavy responsibility in the field of labour and social affairs – most importantly to guarantee fundamental human rights, to ensure decent working conditions, to combat discrimination, to promote full employment, to safeguard social peace, and protect citizens against economic risks. Enforcement of labour law and promoting compliance through public labour inspections is one of its core mandates.

One of the main functions of the Department of Labour therefore includes the enforcement of labour laws through its inspection services which includes all aspects of labour standards, wages, employees’ provident fund, including special investigations relating to working conditions and the working environment (including occupational safety and health), with specific attention to child labour, young persons, and women.

To effectively achieve this mandate and to better focus limited resources, clear priorities must be established within a nationwide policy framework. A structured plan, establishing policy objectives and outcomes based on clear indicators, is required in order to guide the labour inspection activities of the Department of Labour. This requirement has now been met through the development of a National Labour Inspection Policy for the Department of Labour – the first such policy to have been developed for Sri Lanka.

The National Labour Inspection Policy provides the Department of Labour with a clear strategy and measures to strengthen its labour inspection work. This is a key intervention, which if properly implemented, bodes very well for employers and workers in Sri Lanka.

The workshop will bring together officials of the Department of Labour across the country, engaged in labour inspection at various stages of the process to review the current draft and decide on the way forward.