In terms of Section 84 A (1) of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance, the leave necessary to employees for the purpose of voting should be afforded by their respective employers, without loss of pay or their private leave, says the Elections Secretariat.
It said that this should necessarily be implemented at the Local Authorities election, which is to be held on February 10, 2018.
Paragraph 12.3 of the Chapter XII of the Establishment Code, which is for the special leave of the public sector officers also states that a public officer should be granted a special paid leave, minimum period of two hours, or such a continuous period as he may deem necessary, to enable him to cast his vote at the Local Authorities Election.
However, there have been several complaints from the private sector employees that they have not been granted leave to exercise their franchise at previously held elections as there is no methodology of granting special leave stipulated by a written order.
Therefore the Chairman and Commissioners/officers of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Secretary to the Ministry of Labor / Commissioner General and officers of Labor Department were convened for lengthy discussions with the Commissioner of Elections and officers of the Department of Elections, relating to the Presidential Election 2015. According to the said discussions, the following table was prepared based on the distance and the time and was decided as suitable for the use by private sector employers to grant leave to their employees to cast their votes and was published.
The minimum period to be granted is suggested in the above table, but there can be several occasions where three days leave as may be deemed necessary to be granted to employees who will need three days to travel from their places of work to the prescribed polling station and to return, the statement said.
The Election Commission said it expects and kindly requests from all employers to consider the table in above paragraph 3 and the aforesaid matters and grant special leave to their employees to cast their votes in this election too, which is to be held on 10 February 2018.
Every employee should request their leave in writing and every employer should prepare and exhibit a document, including the persons applied for the special leave and the period of leave granted to them, it said.
The commission emphasized that it is the responsibility of every employee to obtain minimum leave sufficient to travel to and from their polling station for the purpose of casting their votes, without interrupting the functioning of the institution.