Work and Wages

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Minimum Wage

There is no single minimum wage in Sri Lanka. Minimum wages are determined by sector specific tripartite boards for more than 40 trades in Sri Lanka. Minimum wage may be determined on hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis by Wage Boards constituted under the Wage Boards Ordinance. Employers are required to pay the minimum wage determined by a trade specific Wage Board.

There are no specific criteria for determining the minimum wage rate. It is adjusted according to the variation in cost of living index applicable to workers in that trade.

Minimum wage rates vary in accordance with the occupation, sector, region and the category of workers. Increase in minimum wage rate is mutually decided by the Government, trade union representatives and employers.

Source: §21-22 of the Wage Boards Ordinance

For updated minimum wage rates, kindly refer to the section on minimum wages

Regular Pay

In accordance with the Wage Boards Ordinance, wage includes any remuneration due in respect of overtime work or of any holiday. Both the Wage Boards Ordinance and the Shop & Office Act have provisions related to the payment of wages.

A Wage Board may fix a wage period for a specific trade and specify the days at the end of which the wages must be paid to the workers. If a worker is not covered under the Wage Board decision, an employer may fix the wage period. However, in either case, wage period cannot exceed one month. The Wage Board Ordinance and the Shop & Office Act require payment of wages at the following intervals:

– within 3 days of the end of wage period if the period does not exceed 1 week;

– within 5 days of the end of wage period if the period does not exceed 2 weeks; and

– within 10 days of the end of wage period if the period exceeds 2 weeks (but is less than one month)

In certain unavoidable circumstances, when the employer is unable to pay remuneration to the worker within specified time period, the employer must retain the remuneration and pay it at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Wages Boards Ordinance and the Shop & Office Act specifically require the employer not to make any deduction other than those authorized by the law. Deductions imposed by Statute are those relating to the collection of income tax at source, Employees’ Provident Fund deductions and deductions on account of payments to approved provident funds, etc. If an employer makes unlawful deductions, there is a risk of prosecution.

Source: §2, 5 & 23 of the Wage Boards Ordinance

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Wages Boards Ordinance, Ordinance No. 27, 1941
  • Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act, 1954

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