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Sri Lanka: Minister of Labor pledges to make laws for domestic workers

August 23, 2022

With over a decade’s fight for a domestic workers law by the Domestic Workers Union (DWU), Hon Namal Siripala De Silva, Labour minister of Sri Lanka, has promised now to bring cabinet paper within 2 weeks time to legally protect domestic workers.

The Domestic Workers’ Union has been waging a number of struggles for the past 14 years to demand legal protection for domestic workers. The struggle began long before it registered itself as a domestic workers’ union. Not only protests, but also with the ministries of industry, has put a lot of pressure on any government that comes to power and continues to negotiate. At the end of the talks in December 2020, the Secretary of the Ministry of Labor promised to begin the preliminary work of bringing these laws to the Domestic Workers’ Union. Accordingly, the second phase of talks was held at the Ministry of Labor yesterday (10.08.2021). As a result of these talks, the Minister of Labor has pledged to the Domestic Workers Union to bring in the Cabinet Memorandum within two weeks to enact the following laws.

  1. Inclusion of domestic work within the Wages board ordinances
  2. Inclusion of domestic workers in the EPF/ETF (Employees’ Trust Fund)
  3. Enrollment of domestic workers in the minimum wage law and Gratuity.

An agreement was reached yesterday regarding the above laws.

And the Domestic Workers’ Union did not consider it a complete success. This is the first step to success for us. The union will continue to press for a series of ministerial-level activities where our campaign will continue until a copy of the bill is sent to parliament and becomes law there.


Sathyapani Sarasagopal

President, Domestic Workers Union