Questions and Answers | Daily News

Questions and Answers

Legal Provisions related to working hours and holidays

Question

I am working in the private sector. Please let me know what are the laws in Sri Lanka relating to working hours and holidays and the applicability of those laws for different working groups in the country?

Herath - Gampola

Answer

There are three laws that set the working hours, rest intervals and different types of holidays. These are:

Wages Board Ordinance of 1941

Shop and Office Employees Act of 1954

Factories Ordinance of 1950

The Factories Ordinance applies to any establishment engaged in:

· A manufacturing process

· Charitable or reformatory work

· Technical or vocational training, where any manual labour is exercised such as making, altering, and repairing, ornamenting, finishing, washing, cleaning, or adapting for sale.

Even if these premises do not constitute a factory, the provisions of the Factories Ordinance will apply.

The Shop and Office Employees Act is applicable to all employees working in a shop or an office.

The Wages Board Ordinance will apply to all trades listed under the Ordinance.

Providing a Medical Certificate for sick leave

Question

I am working in a well-known firm as a senior officer. I had a bad cold one day and was at home after taking painkillers. I went to work next day and gave the medical leave form to one of the officers. I was told that I had to submit my medical certificate even for one day. Please let me know about the following:

Is it necessary to submit a medical certificate from a doctor even for one day?

For how many days do we need a medical certificate ?

According to the Shop and Office Act regulations, how many days do we get for annual, casual and medical leave per year?

Shivantha Vivekananda

- Bambalapitiya

Answer

If you have become sick unexpectedly, then you have to inform your office at least over the phone. If you have taken sick leave suddenly without informing your office, then you have to submit a medical certificate if they are requesting. Submission of medical certificates depends on the practice of your working place. In some working places, they require medical certificates after the second day of sick leave.

Under the Shop and Office Act, an employee is entitled to take annual leave when the next calendar year starts. The duration of that first annual leave period is determined according to the date/month on which the employment commenced. From the second year onwards, an employee is entitled to 14 days of paid annual leave, after completion of 12 months of continuous service.

For the first year, an employee would have following annual leave, depending upon the time of commencement of his employment:

- 14 days if the employment commences on or after January 1, but before April 1;

- 10 days if the employment commences on or after April 1, but before July 1;

- Seven days if the employment commences on or after July 1, but before October 1

- Four days if the employment commences on or after October 1.

A worker is required to take his annual leave within twelve months of its entitlement. The annual leave schedule is determined by the mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. It may be split, however, its minimum duration cannot be less than seven days. Employers are not allowed to compel workers to work during annual leave. If the employment contract expires before a worker could acquire the right to annual leave, the employee is entitled to the annual leave earned by him or her in respect of the previous year plus the days earned during the year of termination.

In accordance with the Shop and Office Act, every worker certified by a medical practitioner is entitled to a paid sick leave (sickness benefit) for a period of seven days (in a 12 month period) for private business due to ill-health or any other reasonable cause. These are generally known as casual leave. Casual leave is normally availed from one-half day to one or more days at a time. This does not include a case of prolonged ill health.

Claiming ownership of a property

Question

We have been living in our house for the past 43 years, during the lifetime of our mother. Our mother was paying the asst. to the C.M.C. and upon her death in the years 1992, we continued to pay asst. rates to date. Having obtained a deed after testamentary proceeding from D.C. Colombo, it continued to be an uninterrupted an undisturbed possession.

A person came with a deed registered at the land register Colombo in the years 1955 claiming a ½ share of the property where we live. He came twice after requesting for the purported share. Having had no knowledge of this claim, we refused his purported claim.

Are there any terms in law to refute his purported claims?

S. Pakeer – Colombo 2

Answer

As you have mentioned, there was a Testamentary Case regarding your property. Usually in testamentary cases, it is a requirement to publish a newspaper notice in three languages informing all the claimants about the Case. The said person who is claiming rights to your property should come to Court during the testamentary case. However, if there is a dispute with regard to ownership of the said property, the party who is claiming the rights to your property can go to Courts and prove his ownership.

Maternity Leave of Government Employee

Question

I am working in a government department. I delivered a baby at the time of accepting a permanent appointment in my department. Am I entitled to maternity leave?

Thusitha - Wellampitiya

Answer

According to the provisions of Public Administration Circular No. 4/2005 dated 03.02.2005, you are entitled to maternity leave. Maternity leave with full pay, leave with half pay and leave with no pay can be granted as per the provisions of the circular deducting the period from the delivery up to the date of accepting the permanent appointment.

Legality of Homosexuality

Question

Please let me know whether homosexuality is criminalized in Sri Lanka. If so, what are the legal provisions applicable?

Daily News Reader

Answer

According to section 356 of Penal Code Sri Lanka it says “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be punished with fine and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of age in respect of any person under sixteen years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and not exceeding twenty years and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for injuries caused to such person.

Furthermore. section 365(a) says “any person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any person of, any act of gross indecency with another person, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either the description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both and where the offence is committed by a person over eighteen years of age in respect of any person under sixteen years of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than ten years and not exceeding twenty years and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount determined by court to the person in respect of whom the offence was committed for the injuries caused to such person”

Therefore, homosexuality can be considered as a criminalized offences. However, the practical situation is that the Police don’t file many cases under those provisions.

Preparing a probable age certificate

Question

I am Matron of a child care centre. There is a small child in our centre. She doesn’t have a birth certificate. When I tried to register her birth they requested me to provide details of her birth and parents. But I don’t know the details and I have never met her parents. Is it possible for me to prepare a birth certificate?

Vithanage – Kandy

Answer

As you have no details of the child’s birth, you can ask for a probable age certificate. You have to provide following documents Affidavit of the matron of the children’s home, medical certificate issued by a government medical officer determining the age of the child and other documents containing information of the child (if any).

Please contact Additional District Registrar of the Divisional Secretariat at your nearest for further information.


 

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