By Dinesh Weerakkody
The Prime Minister in the budget speech said Quote “It cannot be justified to have two different ages for compulsory retirement for men and women. The compulsory retirement age for the public sector is 60 years, whereas it is 50 years for the private sector. It is further lower for females. Contrary to this, life expectancy for females is 76.6 years and life expectancy for males is 72 years.
Therefore, based on the life expectancy, it is proposed to amend the Employees’ Provident Fund Act to expand the retirement age for both men and women up to 60 years. I wish to also bring to your notice that at the time of the adoption of the Employees’ Provident Fund Act, life expectancy for females was as low as 57.5 years and life expectancy for males was 58.8 years.”Unquote
There is no law currently on retirement age contained in the EPF and ETF Acts. In the gratuity Act the payment is made on cessation of employment if the employee has put in 5 years. This is available when the cessation of employment is for any cause. In the ETF Act at the end of a contract of employment an employee can withdraw his/her money in the fund, the only restriction is that you cannot withdraw your money except once every 5 years.
Generally in the private sector retirement is in accordance with the letter of appointment or a collective agreement if one applies. There is no discrimination and men and women usually are expected to retire at 55 and some companies at 60. Where an employee wishes to continue and where the employer has work for the employee, the employee usually is happy to retire to take his EPF and ETF benefits and work again on a contract, which again entitles him to EPF and ETF as before. According to the Termination of Employment (Special Provisions) Act of 1971, as amended, if the letter of appointment or a collective agreement does not specify an age of retirement, to make this possible the Labour Commissioner has to give his approval . There is no law as such according to a labour law specialist that governs the retirement of private sector employees.
The shortage of labour in the factories is due to the fact that female employees wish to merely become eligible for gratuity and then take this money and go back to the villages. When they get married they also withdraw their EPF and ETF as well. Most female employees do not wish to remain till 60 years in the factories. Even now a female may work till 60 years and take her EPF at that age if the employer wishes to continue the employee till 60 years. It may perhaps be correct that when a lower age was fixed for women to access their funds, it was assumed that the group of women who were kept in mind were the manual worker class and 50 was a reasonable age at which they could opt to retire and stay at home given the heavy nature of their work. However there was nothing in a contract of employment which made retirement at 50 compulsory for females and they could have continued if they wished.
HNB promotes cashless transactions; joins CBSL’s ‘Rata Purama LANKAQR’ campaign
Chief Guest for the event Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, CBSL Deputy Governor and National Payments Council chairperson Yvette Fernando, and CBSL Payments and Settlements Director D. Kumaratunge with HNB Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Dilshan Rodrigo as he completes a transaction via HNB SOLO at a merchant stall
HNB PLC, partnered with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to promote the Colombo-leg of ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign at Diyatha Uyana, to raise awareness and encourage the public towards cashless payments.
Having already linked LANKA QR to its digital payment app HNB SOLO, the bank was among other financial institutions and telecommunication partners in joining efforts to make cashless QR-code based payments the standard for mobile phones and digital payments countrywide, in moving towards a cashless and digitally-savvy Sri Lanka.
“We are entering a new era of financial technology, where almost all of our daily transactions will require no physical banknotes, but just a smartphone and internet connection with our bank account integrated to a digital payment app.
The Central Bank’s national directive for banks and financial institutions to adopt and integrate LANKA QR into their existing digital payment solutions has prompted an aggressive onboarding of merchants to the new payment solution across the country. With our extensive customer base, SOLO is no doubt a significant contributor to this innovative initiative,” HNB Deputy General Manager – Retail and SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne said.
The Colombo-leg of the ‘Rata Purama LANKA QR’ campaign raised awareness regarding SOLO’s many facilities, including zero human interaction, efficiency, and eliminated risks that influenced many vendors to come on board.
Sri Lanka Insurance posts a staggering revenue of Rs. 55.2 billion during 2020
Amidst the turbulent and challenging year Sri Lanka Insurance has closed year 2020 on a positive note recording phenomenal revenue growth with exceptional service innovations.
Sri Lanka Insurance the premier insurer to the nation recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record Rs. 55.2 billion revenue for the year, a marked improvement on the Rs.48.6 billion in the year 2019, a press release said.
It adds – In the year of 2020 Sri Lanka Insurance reported 30 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs.19.2 billion whilst general insurance reported 7% growth in premium grew to Rs. 20.1 billion. The company achieved a combined Gross Written Premium (GWP) growth rate of 17 % during the year. General insurance contributed 51% towards the total GWP whilst Life Insurance contributed 49 %.
‘In continuing with its tradition of leadership, Sri Lanka Insurance in 2020 surpassed its own record to declare a sum of Rs.8.2 billion as bonus to policyholders. The cumulative life insurance bonus paid out during the past 10 years tops a massive Rs.54 billion making the SLIC bonus payout unmatchable.
‘As the national insurer we have witnessed yet another challenging year and the consequences brought out by pandemic outbreak urged us to conduct our business operations in a more empathetic manner. SLIC has always taken the lead to protect the nation and during this difficult time Sri Lanka Insurance launched many initiatives to sustain country’s health defenses while ensuring our customers receive uninterrupted insurance service.
‘As the pioneering insurance company in Sri Lanka we are in the forefront to inculcate the importance of insurance to the masses as a national responsibility on our shoulders. We will further strengthen internal capabilities to serve the nation through innovative and affordable insurance solutions which cater to all Sri Lankans under the ‘Insurance for All” concept. Even though the times are defining we will continue protecting our nation turning obstacles into opportunities.’ noted .Jagath Wellawatta, chairman of SLIC.
Bank of Ceylon empowering nation with Lanka Q
The Bank of Ceylon in its mission to assist the government initiative to empower Sri Lanka through digital technology is joining the customer awareness campaign of Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Lanka QR digital platform.
Bank of Ceylon had its most recent major awareness programs in Borella and Maharagama along with the other branches in Colombo District in line with the Central Bank’s main program held in “Diyatha Uyana” with the participation of all Lanka QR certified banks on the same day.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has organized a series of awareness and promotion campaigns for popularizing Lanka QR with the participation of all Lanka QR certified financial institutions throughout the country with the aim of speeding up the customer adaptation process towards digital banking.
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