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Import/Export Facilitation

Industrial Labour Relations

 

Labor laws of the country are applicable to all enterprises, including BOI enterprises, and the Ministry and the Department of Labor are responsible for labor administration functions, including labor law enforcement and Industrial Relations.

The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka promotes and facilitates labor management co-operation and industrial harmony in the enterprises coming under its purview and towards that end, provides advisory services and guidance to employers and employees through its Industrial Relations Department.  Officers from this department will offer advisory services and guidance to employers and employees on all aspects in the area of industrial relations.  Enterprises should bring to the notice of the department any apprehended or existing disputes or problems faced by them in this area so that they could be attended to promptly with a view to speedy settlement by the appropriate authorities.

The Labor Standards and Employment Relations Manual issued by BOI lays down good Industrial Relations principles and practices and sets out the basic terms and conditions of employment to be observed by BOI enterprises operating both within and outside the Export Processing Zones of Sri Lanka.

All BOI enterprises are expected to observe the Industrial Relations principles and practices laid down in the Labor Standards and Employment Relations Manual, the provisions of the relevant labor laws and terms and conditions of employment less favorable than the basic standards set out in this Manual.  They are also required to maintain a healthy and harmonious industrial labor relations climate conducive for higher efficiency and productivity.

Services provided by the Industrial Relations Department

1) Provide Advisory Services

  • Distribution of Labor Standard & Employment Relations Manual.
  • Issuance of clarifications / opinions on IR related matters.
  • Organizing discussion / meeting / workshops for sharing the knowledge.

2) Monitor the Compliance of Labor Standards by BOI Enterprises

  • Conducting routine Labor inspection.
  • Verifying the project status prior to granting special facilitates. eg: Visas for expatriates, green channel facility etc.
  • Sharing information with liaison authorities.
  • Investigation into complaint / grievances of employees.

3) Promote Social Dialogue

  • Facilitate to form and operate the Employees’ Councils
  • Harmonizing and mediating the trade union activities.
  • Encouraging to implement ILO Core Labor Standards.

4) Facilitate to maintain productive labor force

  • Facilitate to meet the manpower requirement through job placement centers. (Job Banks)
  • Organizing the program / workshop to educate the employees on positive thinking. / Industrial Safety and Health Services etc.,
  • Encourage to offer special career development program for the employees (Eg. Foreign training)
  • Facilitate to resolve the industrial disputes speedily.
  • Establishment of Day Care Centers in EPZs for the children of EPZ employees.

The BOI is also committed to promote the application of the principles undertaking the Global Compact and related International Labor Standards by the employers in the BOI enterprises, both within and outside Export Processing Zones.  Accordingly, Labor Standards and Employment Relations in the BOI enterprises will be governed, inter alia, by the following policies and principles;

  • Respecting the right of the workers to form and join trade unions of their own choosing.
  • Respecting the right of the workers to bargain collectively through their trade unions, or in the absence of a trade union, through other organization or body consisting of their elected representatives in the workplace.
  • Affording protection to workers’ representatives and trade union officers against any act prejudicial to them, including dismissal based on their status or activities as workers’ representatives.
  • Eliminating forced or compulsory labor.
  • Abolishing child labor.
  • Eliminating discrimination in employment, occupation and remuneration against workers on such grounds as race, sex, religion, political opinion.
  • Ensuring stability in employment.
  • Providing safe and hygienic working conditions
  • Establishing appropriate machinery for consultation and co-operation between elected representatives of workers and employers on matters of mutual concern.
  • Establishing grievance procedures for the examination of workers’ grievance.
  • Offering fair wages and benefits and conditions of employment to workers.
  • Eliminating harsh and inhuman treatment of workers.
  • Eliminating excessive working hours and overtime work.
  • Affording appropriate facilitates to workers’ representatives in the undertaking to carry out their functions promptly and efficiently.
  • Formulating effective communication policy within the workplace to promote rapid dissemination and exchange of information relating to various aspects of the undertaking and to the social conditions of the workers.
  • Providing advisory services on labor and industrial relations matters to employers and employees and promoting and facilitating effective prevention and settlement of Industrial Disputes.

Legal Services

  • Advise investors with regard to legal aspects in granting approvals to investor companies in relation to matters such as investor company incorporation and connected documentation and company related corporate affairs, land matters impacting approvals, labor law related advice and advice on other connected applicable laws impacting BOI enterprises as well as in connection with foreign direct investments into Sri Lanka
  • Preparation for execution of relevant Agreements to be entered in to under Section 17 of the BOI Act with enterprises.
  • Arrange signing of Agreements with BOI enterprises under Section 17 of the BOI Act.
  • Provide advice in relation to legal issues arising in connection with the investment Agreements and connected approvals.
  • Examination and commenting on joint venture agreements and other applicable/relevant agreements where required.

Engineering Approvals

Role of the Engineering Approvals Department is to provide location related services for Section 17 Projects. Investors visit Engineering Approvals Department at four occasions during the implementation period of their respective projects.

Site Approval

Before signing the agreement with the BOI, investor is supposed to obtain an approval for the proposed site, from the BOI. The approval process includes a site inspection and a brief study about the environmental impacts on future project and vise versa. A letter confirming the suitability of the site is issued to the investor at the end. This is a pre-requisite for signing the Agreement, with the BOI on the project

Building Plan Approval

After signing the agreement, and before commencing construction at the site, it is required to obtain an approval for the building plans from the Engineering Approvals Department of BOI. “BOI guidelines for factory building”, explains in detail, the submission requirements and other information, the investor need to know with this regard.

Quantity Certification

Section 17 BOI projects are entitled to import construction items/materials for their projects, provided the item type is not included in the “negative list”. Engineering Approvals Department assists the investor by recommending the quantities of these items/materials, shipment by shipment basis to the Customs, after checking them against the plans and the BOQ.

Certificate of Conformity

Once the construction of the building is completed, Engineering Approvals Department visits the site for the final inspection. Certificate of Conformity (COC) is issued if the construction is completed in accordance with the approved plans and the premises is ready for the commercial operations. COC is a pre- requisite for commencing commercial operations.

Environmental Clearances

 

The operations of all enterprises should be carried out ensuring conformity to the provisions of the National Environmental Act and its regulations. The enforcement of provisions under the National Environmental Act is carried out by the BOI in respect of all projects established within its Export Processing Zones. A list of activities which could be accommodated in respect of each EPZ has been prepared and could be made available on request. In respect of Enterprises outside the Export Processing Zones, the BOI grants Environmental Clearance and issues Environmental Protection Licences after obtaining concurrence from the CEA where necessary.

The Environmental Impact Assessment regulations of Sri Lanka include a list of Prescribed Projects in respect of which a specified procedure has been laid down in the regulations for granting of environmental clearance. The Environment Department of BOI assists the project proponents in obtaining Environmental Clearance by providing the necessary guidance in case of Prescribed Projects. Relevant schedule is attached in the Environmental Norms.

This document is a Guide in respect of the Environmental Protection requirements and the Standards to be adhered by the Enterprises both within and outside the Export Processing Zones.

Further information on Environmental Protection requirements and advice could be obtained from the Environment Department of BOI.

Environmental Protection License (EPL)

Environmental Norms