Unemployment Benefit system and Social Security Scheme for Retirees

Several unions are working towards wining unemployment benefits and a social
security scheme for retirees, as a large number of private and semi-government
sector jobs have already been lost due to the effects of the Kovid 19 epidemic. In
some other countries, unemployed youth are given an allowance called (DOLE)
and a separate allowance for retirees, and in Sri Lanka the trade unions have been
demanding this for a long time.

A significant number of workers in Sri Lanka have lost their jobs due to the corona
epidemic and the unemployment rate has doubled due to this crisis. In addition, a
large number of private and semi-government sector employees who have made
a significant contribution to the economy as well as to the society by spending
their hard work have to find employment for their living. At the same time, their
self-respect has dropped due to the fact that in many cases the jobs they get are
subordinate compared to the job they did before. Sri Lanka has not yet
implemented a retirement benefit system for such retirees.

In the past, proposals for such scheme have been discussed, but for various
reasons those have been limited only to discussions. The need for such a
methodology has also been acknowledged in a survey conducted by the
Department of Labor on the Covid 19 epidemic. In the election manifesto of
Gotabaya Rajapaksa also mentioned about such a proposal during the last
presidential election. Moreover, some trade unions have already made
representations to the authorities on the need for such measures and have
formulated concrete proposals.

This initiative has been spearheaded by the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, the Free
Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union, the Ceylon Mercantile,
Industrial and General Services Union, the United Federation of Labour and
The National Union of Sea Farers of Sri Lanka which are affiliated to the Industrall
Sri Lanka Council. The trade unions which representing these sectors are convening a meeting in September to discuss this matter.

By Wijepala Weerakoon