In his budget presentation, Samaraweera noted that although there is a high percentage of around 50%-60% of females entering university, only 30% female representation can be observed in the work place, adding that there are many practical reasons why female representation is so low.
Therefore, he presented several proposals in order to increase female representation in the work place.
- ·Provision of assistance and motivation to establish child care centres at work places with over 250 workers.
- ·Provision of loans to establish child care centres on selected school holidays and during term holidays.
- ·Reduction of establishment taxes in order to facilitate salary payments for mothers during their three months of maternity leave.
- ·If maternity leave is extended to four months, the company will be totally exempted from establishment taxes.
- ·Increasing the female representation in director boards in the business sector.
- ·Provision of flexible working hours for women workers.
- ·Provisions for women to work from home.
- ·Minister Mangala Samaraweera noted that these measures were taken in order to minimise the female work force from leaving their jobs for having to provide care for their children and various other issues.
New laws for listed companies to increase female representation
Several measures were also introduced in the new budget for corporations to increase female representation. Accordingly, following are some of the measures introduced to introduce fixed female representation.
- ·The Sri Lanka Securities Commission will introduce a voluntary target to include 30% female representation in the director boards of all listed companies in the Colombo Stock Market.
- ·All listed companies should reveal their board of directors’ female representation in their annual reports.
- ·All companies which are unable to meet the 30% female representation target by December 31, 2020 should show cause for their failure.
- ·By December 31, 2020 all listed companies should at least show 20% of female representation on their director boards.
- ·By 31 December 2024, at least 30% of female directors should be included at all listed companies.
High response through social media:
A higher dialog has been initiated over social media about this year’s budget and the provisions included with regard to females being encouraged to enter the work force. Many have responded positively and welcomed these measures taken for the betterment of women.