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EMPLOYERS’SYMPOSIUM 2018 “Shaping the Future of Work” PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 September 2018 00:00
Labour market reforms have been recognized as one of the key requirements to achieve economic growth and sustainable development in Sri Lanka.  In as much as many Employers have attempted to keep pace with the modern trends in the ‘world of work’, the stringent labour laws that currently exist in the country have acted as a deterrent in bringing much needed change.  Apart from employers losing their ‘competitive edge’, workers as well as entrants to the workforce miss out on the many opportunities due to the inflexibility that stakeholders encounter due to the prevalence of such an environment.  Therefore, we firmly believe that it is time to overhaul this rigid labour market regime in order to create a sustainable environment for business to thrive and foster a work environment that supports the aspirations of those who perform work in this exiting era where technology is creating new opportunities and ‘diverse forms of work’ is thriving.  We are mindful that partnerships will be key, if we are to succeed in bringing about much needed change!

Therefore, through “An Agenda for Change”, the EFC desires to create a platform for the Employers, Workers and their Representatives, as well as the Policy makers to deliberate on how best change should be brought about considering each other’s interest.

In this backdrop the Employers’ Symposium hopes to focus on the following several key topics, which have been identified as the most demanding elements that will have to be addressed if we are to succeed in reforming the current system.  Eminent specialists representing policy makers, Workers, Business & Corporate management drawn from a wide array of sectors are expected to share their expertise on how best we should embrace and gain from ‘change’ through case study presentations and panel discussions.

Social Dialogue and Building Trust – “Promoting Workplace Cooperation” 

Traditionally, trade unions and employer organizations have assisted employees’ voice their ideas and concerns relating to employment. Increasing diversity pose a problem for the social partners to defend the interests of all workers and employers. However, through social dialogue and building trust these challenges can be met. Social dialogue is the process where social partners negotiate, consult or exchange views, often in collaboration with the government, to resolve work-related issues and develop labour market policies, social protection, taxation or other economic policies. Social dialogue and workplace cooperation are integral factors in improved dispute resolution. Workplace cooperation with employers, employee representatives and employees is in essence social dialogue at enterprise level conducted. Inculcating a culture of social dialogue and workplace cooperation is critical in order to resolve disputes in an effective and timely manner in order that disputes are not protracted, burdening all parties in a costly, lengthy and adversarial process. 

Sustainable Enterprises – “Evidence based Wage Fixation, Skills and Social Security Floors”
As a result of the digitalization and globalization of the Labour Market, there exists a high demand for technical skills in today’s world of work. Governments, Employers and Workers all have a stake in skills development. Adopting more relevant skills policies, making new investments in education, training and reskilling of workers and proactively acquiring such training and education are some of the aspects considered by the stakeholders in fostering a smooth transition in to the future of work. 

Strengthening the social security floors would result in reducing poverty, promoting social inclusion and dignity of vulnerable populations, promoting human development such as resulting in better health outcomes, increasing productivity and employability by enhancing human capital and productive assets. Further it would build political stability and social peace. This could be seen as a right that everyone across the board enjoys eg: children, mothers’, persons with disabilities, workers, older persons, migrants, indigenous people and minorities. 

Striking the balance when fixing wages could be a challenging task as low wages could further promote poverty whereas high wages could result in poor compliance and have adverse employment effects. Therefore an evidence – based approach is recommended where both the needs of the workers and their families as well as the economic factors are taken into account when deciding on a minimum wage. Adjusting the wages from time to time, and monitoring and studying of such adjustments would also help in terms of finding the correct balance.   
Shifting Paradigms of the ‘Workplace’ – “Emerging forms of work & managing stakeholder aspirations”

The world of work has continuously undergone transformations throughout the years. One such transformation is the gig or platform economy. An important component of the platform economy is digital labour platforms which include both web-based platforms, where work is outsourced through an open call to a geographically dispersed crowd ("crowdwork"), and location-based applications (apps) which allocate work to individuals in a specific geographical area, typically to perform local, service-oriented tasks such as driving, running errands or cleaning houses.

One of the major challenges in employment is the excessive hours of work and the need to protect workers’ health and safety by limiting working hours and providing adequate periods for rest and recuperation, including weekly rest and paid annual leave (work life balance).

A variety of factors in recent years have led to new trends and developments in both working time and work organisation:

> Globalization and the resulting intensification of competition; advances in information and communications technologies; and new patterns of consumer demands for good and services

> Demographic changes, such as the increasing entry of women into the paid labour market

> A variety of flexible work arrangements that vary from the conventional full-time, “9 to 5” model, such as flexi-time arrangements and part-time work

> The global economic and financial crisis had led to a reduction of working time to spread a reduced volume of work over the same (or similar) number of workers to avoid redundancies.  

Aspirations differ from individual to individual; some require financial security and flexibility at work whereas others look for status and responsibility. Although aspirations differ, the question remains how employers can successfully manage aspirations in a manner which would drive the growth of the employer and the employee. 

The Symposium is scheduled to be held on 8th November 2019 at the Oak Room, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo. 

We are confident that deliberation on the above topics will interest you in the context of the current changes that are taking place. 


As Employers who have been proactive in bringing about change in the world of work, we are pleased to invite you to share your own experiences with us, by presenting your story at the above Symposium.  If you wish to be a part this event, please get in touch with my colleague Ms.Dhananji Seneviratne on 01127801801/ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   .

How to Become a Sponsor

As you know, this is one of the biggest corporate events which takes place in the Business World in Sri Lanka annually, with a participation of approximately 500 participants inclusive of CEO’s, HR Professionals and highly acclaimed corporate leaders. As it also receives wide publicity through media such as Newspapers, Television, Facebook, Twitter, etc.; we believe this will be an excellent opportunity to promote your corporate brands. Please find attached the sponsorship categories and benefits which we have lined up for the sponsors. Those who wish to sponsor this event, may get in touch with Ms.Satheeka Kavisekera on 0778880301/0117801801 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .                 

Kanishka Weerasinghe
Director General

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 October 2019 09:09

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