Ministry Information

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Subjects and Functions

  • Providing policy guidance to relevant State Ministry
  • Formulating policies in relation to the subject of Labour, in conformity with the prescribed Laws, Acts and Ordinances
  • Implementation of projects under the national budget, state Investment and National Development Programme
  • Formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies, programmers and projects, related to subjects and functions under the below-mentioned Departments, State Corporations and Statutory Institutions for the “Establishment of employees security in the private sector and creation of a skilled foreign employment force” based on the national policies implemented by the government, and in accordance with the policy statement “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”. 

Special Priorities 

  • Reviewing all circulars, laws, ordinances, rules and regulations pertaining to the scope of the labour sector and effecting necessary amendments in order to suit the needs of the present and to safeguard labour rights 
  • Introducing a contributory pension scheme in addition to the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) will ensure their security in the later stages of their lives 
  • Encourage productive programmes based on employer-employee cordial relationships, while improving competencies and skills of workers, and maintaining high standard sanitary and security mechanisms at working places 

Mehewara piyasa

As per the proposal made by the present Prime Minister Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksha, who was then acting as the Minister of Labour, the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted on 21st May 2008 to construct the “Mehewara Piyasa” building to provide services to the labour sector in a more efficient and productive manner. Accordingly, “Mehewara Piyasa” was built at the Narahenpita Labour Secretariat premises as the tallest government-owned building in Sri Lanka, with two basements, a ground floor and 32 floors.

The “Mehewara Piyasa” construction project was completed in 2019, with a cost of Rs. 7.585 Bn. Currently, institutions including the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment, the Department of Labour, the Employee Trust Fund, and the Inland Revenue Department are providing their services located from “Mehewara Piyasa”.

Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment

Improving the standards of living and service conditions of workers in the semi-government and private sectors of Sri Lanka and the formulation of pertinent policies and implementation thereof by establishing industrial peace and employer and employee relationship required for the enhancement of the production and labour productivity are the prime objectives of the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment. The scope of the Ministry has broadened with labour legislations enacted from time to time with the welfare of the workers in mind. Accordingly, the vision and mission of the Ministry are as follows.

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“A satisfied productive labour force”


“Contribute towards the socio-economic development through the promotion of industrial peace and harmony, social protection rights at work and productivity”


  • To empower and strengthen the tripartite relationship
  • To ensure globally accepted rights and conditions at work
  • To eliminate child labour
  • To protect and empower employed women and promote gender equity and equality
  • To expedite relevant labour law reforms
  • To initiate action to develop a comprehensive social protection strategy

Major Thrust Areas

  • Industrial Peace and Harmony
  • Labour Standards and Enforcement
  • Protection of Working Women and Elimination of Child Labour
  • Occupational, Safety and Health
  • Social Protection
  • Education, Training, Research and Development

Related Institutional and Legal Framework

Departments, Statutory Institutions and Public Corporations

  • Department of Labour
  • National Institute of Labour Studies
  • Employees’ Provident Fund
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
  • Office of the Commissioner of Workmen’s Compensation
  • National Productivity Secretariat

Laws and Ordinance to be Implemented

  • Employees’ Councils Act, No. 32 of 1979 Employees’ Provident Fund Act, No. 15 of 1958 Employment of Women, Young Persons, and Children Act, No. 47 of 1956
  • Factories Ordinance No. 45 of 1942
  • Industrial Disputes Act, No. 43 of 1950
  • Maternity Benefits Ordinance No. 32 of 1939 National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Act, No. 38 of 2009
  • Payment of Gratuity Act No 12 of 1983
  • Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act No. 19 of 1954
  • Termination of Employment of Workmen (Special Provisions) Act, No. 45 of 1971
  • Trade Union Ordinance No 14 of 1935
  • Wages Boards Ordinance No. 27 of 1941 Compensation Ordinance No 19 of 1934
  • Shrama Vasana Fund Act No. 12 of 1998

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