Martin Luther King Jr once stated that “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity”. He elaborated on the importance of respecting and honoring hard work no matter what and emphasized the importance of strong work ethics and commitment. Laborers across the world deserve the right to be protected and this justifies the undeniable importance of the Labor Law. The Labor Law refers to the legislation that revolves around the responsibilities of employers and the rights of employees.

Know Your Rights Phase 2 organized by RACUOCFMF is an educational session that was held on the 13th September 2020, via Zoom and Facebook Live with the intentions of educating society on the key roles, importance and developments of the Labor Law in Sri Lanka. The session was graced by Mr. A Sarveswaran, who is a senior lecturer at the University of Colombo, Faculty of Law.

Labor Law violations in Sri Lanka are not unheard of. In fact, it can even be interpreted that too many go by unheard. RACUOCFMF recognized this unsettling controversy and came up with Know Your Rights Phase 2 which focuses on Labor Law, following a successful Know Your Rights Phase 1 on basic human rights.

Missed Phase I? Drop by to enrich yourself with the basics of Human Rights.

Despite the variety of qualifications and experiences one would pursue to strive for an excellent career, it can be argued that the lack of knowledge on labor laws and labor rights could hold them back from achieving the best version of their careers.

The session starts with Mr. Sarveswaran giving a brief introduction on the overalls of the Labor Law explaining the nature of the statutes enacted by the parliament of Sri Lanka. An interesting point is made by the guest speaker during the introduction where he goes off to say that the Labor Law in Sri Lanka is “Somewhat Complicated”.

The rest of the session was conducted in the form of a discussion. A series of questions were directed by the moderator, Rtr. Ravisha to which the guest speaker gave insightful opinions and answers. The discussion starts off at the very basic point of “Contract of Employment”, in order to deliver the highest level of clarity to the participants.

The next question that is posed by the moderator revolves around Labor Disputes and the mechanisms in Sri Lanka to solve it. The guest speaker defines Industrial Disputes “as a dispute between the employer and employee regarding the employment”.

The next question that is raised by the moderator adds a little spice to the discussion as the term “TERMINATION” is a critical term when it comes to Labor law. Mr. Sarveswaran opens the discussion by elaborating on the three main types of terminations.

Based on the nature and degree of misconduct the termination is decided. Mr. Sarveswaran enhances the discussion here by elaborating on the types of termination caused due to the current world dilemma COVID-19. This involves “close up” caused due to businesses shutting down, termination caused due to cutting down excess supply of workers at workplaces and layoffs. The speaker fully covers the area “termination” by finishing off with the legal remedies against termination.

As the discussion furthers, Mr. Sarveswaran explains several other key points concerning labor law and labor rights such as the trade unions, trade union rights, employment benefits and practical examples based on the current COVID-19 world crisis. The session does not halt at the point of merely being informative, but takes it beyond into a level of practicality by inquiring the process of filing a case at the event of a labor violation.

The final twenty minutes of the one-hour worth session was allocated for the participants to pose their questions to Mr. Sarveswaran. The amount of questions posed during this time period was a strong indicator of the success of the session. Questions came flowing into the chat box to which Mr. Sarveswaran provided insightful answers and opinions. The questions raised many important facts that undoubtedly added much value to the session.

Know Your Rights Phase 2 concluded with Rtr. Hasara delivering the Vote of Thanks. The session was a successful event that helped raise awareness in a field of knowledge many of us lack despite its critical importance.

Written By:-

Rtr. Ravisha Navaratne

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