WAGES BOARDS ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

Provisions Relating to All Trades

2. Payment of wages.

3. Wage records.

3A. Grant of Holiday on the Full Moon Poya Day.

3B. Employment on Full Moon Poya Day.

3C. Particulars of wages to be furnished to the worker or to his trade union.

3D. Recovery of arrears of wages in certain cases.

4. Penalty for failure to comply with provision of Part I.

5. Duration of provisions of sections 2(b) and 3.

PART II

Provisions Relating to Particular Trades Application of Part II of Ordinance to Particular Trades

6. Application of Part II to particular trades.

7. Notice of intention to apply Part II.

Wages Boards

8. Establishment of Wages Boards.

9. Constitution of Wages Boards.

10. Chairman and Secretary of Wages Board.

11. Procedure at meetings of Wages Boards.

12. Term of office of member of Wages Board.

13. Regulations.

14. Determination of questions as to which is appropriate Wages Board in cases of doubt.

15. Reference of matters to Wages Board by Minister or Commissioner.

16. Power of Wages Board to hold inquiries.

17. Information given in proceedings before Wages Board to be treated as confidential in certain cases.

District Wages Committees

18. District Wages Committees.

19. Reference of matters by Wages Board to District Wages Committee.

Decisions of Wages Boards

20. Minimum rates of wages.

21. Liability of employer to pay minimum wages.

22. Wages of worker who works for less than normal working day or does not work at all on any day.

23. Intervals at which wages shall be paid.

24. Hours of work and weekly holiday.

25. Annual holidays.

26. Computation, of service for purposes of holidays.

27. Determination of different rates of wages to suit special circumstances.

28. Publication of proposed decisions by Wages Boards.

29. Procedure for approval of decisions of Wages Boards by Minister.

30. Rescission or amendment of decisions of Wages Board.

31. Proof of decisions of Wages Boards.

32. Decisions of Wages Board to have effect notwithstanding any written law other than this Ordinance.

Determination of General Minimum Time-Rate by Commissioner

33. Determination of general minimum time-rate by Commissioner in certain cases.

34. Decisions of Wages Board which is abolished or whose authority is curtailed.

Provisions Relating to Special Cases

35. Worker performing two or more classes of work.

36. Worker performing piece-work.

37. Worker waiting for work on employer's premises.

38. Work done under an arrangement made by way of trade.

39. Non-able-bodied worker.

40. Apprentices or learners.

Duties of Employers

41. Employers' duty to keep register.

42. Exhibition of notices by employers.

43. Register to be kept by persons giving out work.

43A. Maintenance of other records by employers.

Offences

44. Penalty for failure to pay wages.

45. Immediate employer being himself in the employment of another person.

45A. Liability of contractor in regard to wages due to a worker employed by sub-contractor.

46. Recovery of sums due to workers under this Ordinance.

47. Burden of proof.

48. Offences by employer.

49. Dismissal of worker for being a member of a Wages Board.

50. Employer receiving premium in breach of section 40.

51. Disclosure of information breach of section 17(2).

PART III

General

Appointment and Powers of Officers.

52. Appointment in officers.

53. Authorisation of Commissioner of another officer to act on his behalf.

54. Power of Commissioner to call for returns.

55. Powers of prescribed officers.

56. Power of Commissioner of Labour or registered trade union to recover by suit, money due to a worker.

57. Wages to be a first charge on assets of trade.

57A. Certificate of service.

Offences

58. Offences.

Miscellaneous

59. Liability of employer's agent.

59A. Special provisions applicable where persons are employed to do work under an arrangement made by way of trade or for any commercial purpose.

60. No prosecution except with Commissioner's sanction and within six years of offence.

61. Court of trial for offences.

62. Contracting out of rights or liabilities under Ordinance.

Regulations

63. Regulations.

Interpretation

64. Interpretation.

Effect of Ordinance

65. Ordinance to prevail in case of conflict with written law.

27 of 1941,

40 of 1943,

19 of 1945,

22 of 1945,

5 of 1953,

27 of 1957,

27 of 1962,

17 of 1965,

23 of 1966,

24 of 1966,

29 of 1971,

10 of 1978,

10 of 1980,

36 of 1982.

AN ORDINANCE for the regulation of the wages and other emoluments of persons employed in trades, for the establishment and constitution of Wages Boards, and for other purposes connected with or incidental to the matters aforesaid.

[Date of Commencement: 19th September, 1941]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Wages Boards Ordinance.

PART I

Provisions Relating to All Trades

2. Payment of wages.

The employer of workers in any trade shall comply with the following provisions of this section regarding the payment of wages to every such worker—

(a) he shall, subject as hereinafter provided, pay such wages in legal tender directly to the worker, without any deduction other than an authorised deduction, as hereinafter defined, made with the consent of the worker:

Provided that the aggregate of the deductions so made at any one time shall not exceed—

(i) seventy-five per centum of the wages due, in the case of a worker in any trade specified by the Minister for the purposes of this paragraph by Notification published in the Gazette; and

(ii) fifty per centum of the wages due, in the case of a worker employed in any other trade;

Provided, further, that nothing in the preceding provisions of this paragraph shall affect or be deemed to affect—

(i) any deduction authorised to be made from such wages by the Income Tax Ordinance or the Inland Revenue Act, No. 4 of 1963, or the Inland Revenue Act (No. 28 of 1979), as the case may be or any other written law; or

(ii) any retention or payment of the whole or any part of such wages made in pursuance of or compliance with any order, process or decree made or issued by any court of law.

For the purposes of this paragraph a payment which, immediately after the wages are paid to the worker, is made out of the wages by the worker to the employer or to an agent of the employer, shall be deemed to be a deduction from the wages.

In this paragraph "authorised deduction” means a deduction made in such manner and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be prescribed in respect of—

(i) any advance of money made by the employer to the worker,

(ii) any payment which, at the instance of the worker, is made out of the wages of the worker by the employer to any person other than the employer or an agent of the employer in order to discharge any obligation of the worker or for any other purpose, or

(iii) any other prescribed matter.

[S 2(a) am by s 2 of Act 27 of 1957.]

(b) subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of section 5, he shall fix the wage period (not exceeding one month) in respect of each worker employed by him and shall pay the wages for that period to that worker—

(i) where that period does not exceed one week, within three days after the expiry of that period; or

(ii) where that period exceeds one week but does not exceed two weeks, within five days after the expiry of that period; or

(iii) where that period exceeds two weeks, within ten days after the expiry of that period:

Provided, however, that where owing to the absence of any worker or to any other unavoidable cause, it is not possible to pay the wages of any worker within the time limited by this paragraph, he may retain such wages and shall thereafter pay such wages to that worker at the earliest possible opportunity. Nothing in this paragraph shall in any way affect the period of notice or warning necessary under any provision of written law other than this Ordinance for the termination of any contract.

(c) if on any date he terminates the employment of a worker or any worker lawfully terminates employment under him, he shall, before the expiry of the second working day after that date, pay the wages due to that worker.

[S 2(c) am by s 2 of Act 27 of 1957.]

3. Wage records.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (2) of section 5, the employer of workers in any trade shall maintain and keep in the premises where that trade is carried on a clear and accurate record in writing (hereinafter referred to as a "wage record”), in respect of each wage period of such workers, specifying—

(a) the wage period;

(b) the names of the workers who are paid wages in respect of such wage period;

(c) the number of hours or days during which each such worker has worked in such wage period;

(d) the wages paid to each such worker in respect of such wage period;

(e) the date of payment of such wages;

[S 3(1)(e) am by s 3 of Act 27 of 1957.]

(f) the deductions from such wages; and

[S 3(1)(f) am by s 3 of Act 27 of 1957.]

(g) particulars of such other matters as may be prescribed.

[S 3(1)(g) ins by s 3 of Act 27 of 1957.]

(2) Every person who as an employer maintains or has maintained under subsection (1) a wage record in respect of any wage period shall preserve such record for four years commencing on the last day of such period, and shall, when required to do so by the Commissioner of Labour or any prescribed officer, produce such record for inspection and furnish a true copy of such record or of any part of such record or permit such a copy to be made.

[S 3(2) subs by s 2 of Act 27 of 1962.]

3A. Grant of Holiday on the Full Moon Poya Day.

An employer of workers in any trade shall grant to such workers a holiday on every Full Moon Poya Day:

Provided that no additional weekly holiday shall be granted to the workers where the weekly holiday falls on a Full Moon Poya Day.

[S 3A ins by Holidays Regulations 1 of 1971.]

3B. Employment on Full Moon Poya Day.

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 3A, the employer of workers in any trade may employ a worker on a Full Moon Poya Day for a normal period of employment, subject to the condition that he shall he paid not less than one and a half times his normal daily rate of wages.

[S 3B ins by Holidays Regulations 1 of 1971.]

3C. Particulars of wages to be furnished to the worker or to his trade union.

Every employer who, under section 3, maintains or has maintained a wage record shall, on any request made by a worker or by the trade union to which he belongs, furnish or cause to be furnished, all particulars of the wages paid to such worker in the prescribed form.

[S 3C ins by s 2 of Act 10 of 1978.]

3D. recovery of arrears of wages in certain cases.

(1) Where an employer of any worker in any trade has failed to maintain and keep in the premises where that trade is carried on the wage record required to be kept under subsection (1) of section 3, or fails, when required to do so under subsection (2) of that section, to produce such record for inspection, the Commissioner is hereby empowered to assess the wages or the short payment of wages, as the case may be, payable to such worker under this Ordinance on the basis of all the evidence both oral and documentary, available to him, and the provisions of subsection (2) shall apply where default is made in the payment of any such wages.

(2) Where an employer makes default in the payment of any sum which he is liable to pay under subsection (1), and the Commissioner is of opinion that it is impracticable or inexpedient to recover that sum under any other provisions of this Ordinance, then, he may issue a certificate containing particulars of the sum so due and the name and place of residence of the defaulting employer to the Magistrate having jurisdiction in the division in which such place is situated. The Magistrate shall thereupon summon such employer before him to show cause why further proceedings for the recovery of the sum due should not be taken against him, and in default of sufficient cause being shown, such sum shall be deemed to be a fine imposed on such employer by such Magistrate, and shall be recovered accordingly. Every sum so recovered shall be paid to the Commissioner.

(3) The correctness of any statement in a certificate issued by the Commissioner for the purposes of this section shall not be called in question or examined by the court in any proceedings under this section, and accordingly nothing in this section shall authorise the court to consider or decide the correctness of any statement in such certificate, and the Commissioner's certificate shall be sufficient evidence that the amount due under subsection (1) from the defaulting employer has been duly calculated and that such amount is in default.

[S 3D ins by s 2 of Act 10 of 1978.]

4. Penalty for failure to comply with provision of Part I.

(1) Every employer who fails to comply with any provision of this Ordinance shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable—

(a) in the case of a first offence, to a fine not less than one hundred rupees nor exceeding two hundred and fifty rupees;

(b) in the case of a second offence, to a fine not less than two hundred and Fifty rupees nor exceeding five hundred rupees; and

(c) in the case of a subsequent offence, to a fine not less than five hundred rupees not exceeding one thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

[S 4 re-numbered as s 4(1) by s 2 of Act 23 of 1966; subs by s 3 of Act 10 of 1978.]

(2) On conviction of an employer under subsection (1) of an offence in respect of any worker, the court may, in addition to any other sentence, order the employer to pay—

(a) where a worker has not been paid the amount which ought properly to have been paid to that worker, such sum as may be found by the court to represent the difference between such amount and the amount actually paid and the surcharge referred to in
subsection (2A); or

(b) where no portion of the wages due to that worker has been paid, such sum as may be found by the court to represent such wages and the surcharge referred to in subsection (2A).

[S 4(2) subs by s 3 of Act 36 of 1982.]

(2A) The surcharge payable on any sum referred to in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of subsection (2) shall be calculated as follows—

(a) where such sum is in arrears for a period exceeding one month but not exceeding three months, a surcharge of twenty per centum of such sum;

(b) where such sum is in arrear for a period exceeding three months but not exceeding six months, a surcharge of thirty per centum of such sum;

(c) where such sum is in arrear for a period exceeding six months but not exceeding twelve months, surcharge of forty per centum of such sum;

(d) where such sum is in arrear for a period exceeding twelve months, a surcharge of fifty per centum of such sum.

[S 4(2A) ins by s 3 of Act 36 of 1982.]

(3) The power of the court to make an order under subsection (2) for the payment of any sum of money shall not be in derogation of any right of the worker to recover that sum by any other proceedings.

[S 4(3) ins by s 2 of Act 23 of 1966.]

5. Duration of provisions of sections 2(b) and 3.

(1) With effect from the date on which a decision of a Wages Board under section 23 comes into force in respect of any trade, the provisions of paragraph (b) of section 2 shall cease to have effect in respect of that trade, in so far as they are inconsistent or in conflict with any such decision.

(2) The provisions of section 3 shall cease to have effect in respect of any trade with effect from the date on which a form of register under section 41 is prescribed for that trade.

PART II

Provisions Relating to Particular Trades, Application of Part II of Ordinance to Particular Trades

6. Application of Part II to particular trades.

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 7, the Minister may by order in writing apply the provisions of this Part of this Ordinance to any trade specified in such order.

The power conferred by the preceding provisions of this subsection shall be deemed to include the power to make from time to time an amending order for the purpose of varying in any manner the description of any trade specified in any earlier order.

(2) Every order under subsection (1) shall be published by notification in the Gazette and shall come into force on the date of such publication or on such later date as may be specified in such notification.

7. Notice of intention to apply Part II.

(1) No order under section 6 shall be made unless notification of the intention to make such order is published in the Gazette and in one Sinhala, one Tamil and one English newspaper, together with a notice specifying a date on or before which objections to the proposed order will be received by the Minister.

(2) Every objection preferred in consequence of a notice under subsection (1) shall be made in writing and shall contain a statement of the grounds upon which objection is taken to the proposed order.

(3) The Minister shall consider all objections made in consequence of a notice under subsection (1) and may for the purpose of investigating any such objection hold such inquiry as to him may seem necessary.

Wages Boards

8. Establishment of Wages Boards.

(1) The Minister may by Order published in the Gazette

(a) establish a Wages Board for any trade to which the provisions of this Ordinance have been applied under section 6 or for any branch of, or any function or process in, any such trade;

(b) declare that the powers, duties and functions under this Ordinance of any Wages Boards so established for any trade shall extend to any other trade to which those provisions have been so applied.

(2) No Order under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) shall be made unless notification of the intention to make such Order is published in the Gazette and in at least one Sinhala, one Tamil and one English newspaper, together with a notice specifying a date on or before which objections to the proposed Order will be received by the Minister.

(3) Every objection preferred in consequence of a notice under subsection (2) shall be made in writing and shall contain a statement of the grounds upon which objection is taken to the proposed Order.

(4) The Minister shall consider all objections made in consequence of a notice under subsection (2) and may for the purpose of investigating any such objection hold such inquiry as to him may seem necessary.

(5) Where the description of any trade for which a Wages Board has been established is varied on any date by an order made under subsection (1) of section 6, that Board shall be deemed to have been duly established on that date for the trade of the varied description.

9. Constitution of Wages Boards.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (7), every Wages Board shall consist of the Commissioner and of members representing employers in the trade for which the Board is established, and members representing workers engaged in such trade, and of nominated members.

(2) The number of representative members of a Wages Board shall be determined by the Minister and one-half of such number shall be representatives of the employers and one-half shall be representatives of the workers. All representative members of a Wages Board shall be appointed by the Minister.

(3) Where the powers, duties and functions of any Wages Board are extended under section 8, the Minister may appoint an equal number of additional representative members to represent employers and workers, respectively.

(4) Any person may be appointed a representative member of a Wages Board notwithstanding that he is not an employer or a worker in the trade for which the Board is established:

Provided, however, that—

(a) any person who is to be appointed a representative member shall, if he is to represent any employers or workers who are members of any trade union, association, or other organisation, be approved by that union, association, or organisation; and

(b) any person who has been appointed to be a representative member on the approval of any such union, association, or organisation, may at the request of such union, association, or organisation, be removed from office by the Minister if the Minister, after such inquiry as he may deem necessary, is satisfied that such person has ceased to be a member or to have the confidence of such union, association, or organisation.

(5) Women shall be eligible for appointment as members of Wages Boards as well as men.

(6) Any person may be a member of more than one Wages Board.

(7) The Minister shall appoint to be nominated members of a Wages Board such number of persons (not exceeding three) as he may deem fit, No person who is an employer or a worker in any trade shall be appointed to be a nominated member of the Wages Board established for that trade.

(8) Where any member of a Wages Board is, through illness or other cause which the Minister considers reasonable, unable to attend meetings of that Board, the Minister may appoint a person to act as a member of that Board during the absence of the first-mentioned member.

10. Chairman and Secretary of Wages Board.

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VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


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