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Do you know about employees’ leave entitlement?

Cotents from Dialog Axiata Sri Lanka

It is very important to understand the employer and employee relationship and its legal background. We hope to provide some legal provisions under acts related to employer employee relations in Sri Lanka.

An employee can be defined as a person who works in the service of another person under an express or implied contract of hire, under which the employer has the right to control the details of work performance.

An employer can be defined as any person who employs or on whose behalf any other person employs any workman includes a body of employers and any person who on behalf of any other person employs any workman.

Provisions for leave made in the Shop & office act and wages board ordinance are very briefly mentioned below, 

Statutory holidays

Both shop and office and wages board employees are entitled for eight statutory holidays declared for the year. These statutory holidays are as follows,

  • Tamil Thai Pongal Day
  • National Day
  • Holy Prophet’s Birth Day
  • Day prior to Sinhala & Tamil new year
  • Sinhala & Tamil new year day
  • May Day (1st of May)
  • Day following Wesak full moon poya day
  • Christmas Day

If a statutory holiday falls on a weekly holiday an alternative holiday or half a day holiday must be declared for a shop and office employees. However, this is not applicable to wages board employees (except for trades such as textile manufacturing, biscuits, coconut growing, paddy hulling, rubber and tea growing trades). Under wages board ordinance, when work is done on a statutory holiday the workman is entitled to an extra days pay for the first nine hours or to take a day off with pay before 31st December.  


Full Moon Poya Day

Both employees defined under shop/office act and wages board act are entitled for poya day holidays.


Annual Leave

Fourteen days annual leave for each calendar year to be taken in the succeeding year if employee has been continuously employed in the previous calendar year. When taking annual leave at least seven days should be taken on consecutive days. However, annual leave must be taken with mutual agreement.

In the case of new employees, these annual leaves will be entitled from second calendar year according to the date that they enter into the employment contract,

  • If the employment commenced between 1st Jan. and 31st March of the previous year, 14 days are entitled,
  • If the employment commenced between 1st April. and 30th  June of the previous year, 10 days are entitled,
  • If the employment commenced between 1st July. and 30th  Sep. of the previous year, 7 days are entitled,
  • If the employment commenced between 1st Oct. and 31st Dec. of the previous year, 4 days are entitled,


Casual Leave

The employee is entitled for seven days casual leave for private business, ill health or other reasonable cause. In the first year, new employee is entitled ½ day casual leave for each completed month.

For instance, Mr. Sisira Kumara got his job employment in an office and the job commenced from 10th June 2012. Accordingly he will be entitled only ½ day casual leave for each month during first calendar year. Then he will be entitled 10 annual leaves and 7 casual leaves in second calendar year.


Weekly Holidays

Each shop and office employees are entitled for 1 ½ days paid weekly holidays if employee has worked for a minimum of 28 hours during the week. Normally, weekly holidays should be granted in the same week or the week following.

The employees categorized under wages board act will be granted only one weekly holiday.  Most wages boards have decisions for Sunday to be the weekly holiday. Some have it on any day in the week. For example in the case of cinema trade it is day between Monday to Friday.     


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© Dialog Axiata PLC - Sri Lanka

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Pathum Sanjeewa  |  January 04, 2017
If i joined on August 2016, how many leave entitle for the next year 2017 January to December 2017
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Jayantha Liyanage  |  April 24, 2016
Dear sir, Please let me know whether I am entitled for the no pay leave for 7 days without any cutting of salary for 10 days by my INGO which I joined recently from 1st of Jsnuary 2016 and in probation period for 6 months As the Head of Health. I assume that on the 7 days should be cut from the salary. But in my 7 days of stay overseas 10 days were cut. Is it correct. My work contract in pen- ended and 8.30 to 5.00pm from Monday to Friday working hours. Thanking you, Regards! Dr Liyanage
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Prasha Shri  |  April 08, 2013
I have a Doubt in this regard, If I joined in 10th June 2012, I will be entitled for 10 days Annual leave for succeeding year. is that for the period of 1st January 2013 to 9th June 2013 or for the whole year of 2013? And is there is any possibilities to get the Annual leave on the same year of 2012?