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Department of Labour

The Department of Labour was initially established to look into the welfare of Indian Immigrant Labour, and was called the Department of Indian Immigrant Labour. Enactment of Indian Immigrant Labour Ordinance No. 1 of 1923 provided for the establishment of the Department of Indian Immigrant Labour.

However, with the gradual expansion of the indigenous segment of the labour force, labour perse became a force to be reckoned with. In these circumstances the colonial rulers were compelled to look beyond their limited scope of looking into the welfare of Indian Immigrant Labour, and had to take measures for the welfare and well-being of all the workers alike, Accordingly, in 1931 the Department of Indian Immigrant Labour was transformed into the General Department of Labour- the stage agency responsible for ensuring welfare of both Indian Migrant Labour as well as indigenous labour, Initially the Head of the Department was designated as Controller of Labour, but in 1944 the Head was re-designated as Commissioner of Labour and year 2000 as Commissioner General of Labour.

For the protection and welfare of labour during the period of over eighty five years, over forty legislations have been enacted covering a wide spectrum of activities. Basically, implementation of these has been the task of the Department. In addition, the Department has also been involved in activities such as worker education, human resources placement, labour Market information, Social dialog and monitoring complain etc. which social development and quality of work life.

The staff of the Department in order to meet the emerging demands for various services, over time has gradually grown up. Currently the staff strength is over one thousand. The administrative organization constitute 17 divisions at the head office level entrusted with different functions, and a net work of regional offices comprising 11 Zonal Deputy Commissioners' offices, 36 District Labour Offices, 12 Labour Sub Offices, 9 District Factory Inspecting Engineer's Offices to carry out activities at the regional level.

The following are the main activities carried out by the Department

  1. Enforcement of Labour Laws and settlement of industrial disputes.
  2. Implementation of Social Security Schemes.
  3. Monitoring occupational hygiene and prevention of industrial accidents.
  4. Regulating employment of persons, undertaking planning and research in the field of labour, educating social partners with a view to promoting employer-employee relations.
  5. Labour Market Information Service.
  6. Collection, Compilation and dissemination of Labour Statistics.
  7. Registration of Trade Unions.
  8. Work closely with the Ministry of Labour Relations & Manpower in fulfilling Sri Lanka’s obligations as a member of the ILO.

Official website :

Department of Labour

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