Labour and employment in Sri Lanka

D. L. & F. De Saram

The practice at D. L. & F. De Saram has a strong reputation for advising on the full remit of complex employment matters for high-profile names such as Mitsubishi Corporation and Tesco Sourcing, in both domestic and international contexts. The team's workload ranges from regulatory and compliance matters and due diligence investigations, handling inquiries before Labour District Offices and the Employees’ Trust Fund Board, and employment-related disputes. Employment and labour specialists Jivan Goonetileke, Manjula Sirimane and Hasanthie Manukulasooriya lead the department. Nadine Puvimanasinghe is a key associate in the group.

Practice head(s):

Jivan Goonetilleke; Manjula Sirimane; Hasanthie Manukulasooriya

Other key lawyers:

Nadine Puvimanasinghe


‘A very proactive, prompt and service-oriented approach – they give practical legal advice and are up-to-date on legal changes.’

‘Jivan and Nadine are noteworthy.’

Key clients

Schneider Electric


Associated British Food Group (A B Mauri Lanka (Private) Limited)

Allianz Group


HCL Technologies Limited

Siam City Cement (Lanka) Limited

Nestle Lanka PLC

ZTE Corporation


Tesco Sourcing


London Stock Exchange Group


Wiley Global Technology (Private) Limited

Fresenius Medical Care Asia-Pacific Limited

Virtusa (Private) Limited

Mines Advisory Group

International Research & Exchange Board (IREX)

Nokia Solutions and Networks Ltd

Dewhirst Group




Toll Global

Plan International

Pernod Ricard Lanka (Private) Limited

The Coca-Cola Company

Zebra Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

Ceylon Oxygen Ltd

Servier International Group

Prima Group of Companies

Mitsubishi Corporation

Royal Norwegian Embassy



Velocity Global LLC

Sun Finance



Peace Corps

Work highlights

  • Advised Mitsubishi Corporation on the laws relating to the terminations and redundancies of employees and formulation of severance packages.
  • Advising Tesco Sourcing on the development of a dual engagement structure of existing Tesco staff resources in Sri Lanka where its operations are to be restructured.
  • Providing strategic advice to DHL Global Forwarding (Private) Ltd in effecting severance of employees attached to the company.

Tiruchelvam Associates

Tiruchelvam Associates‘ practice is jointly led by Ramani Muttettuwegama and senior associate Michael Paiva, who brings his expertise in visas and immigration matters to bear in the context of employment law. The team is well versed in advising on the scope of employment-related issues, such as compliance, drafting of employment agreements and registrations, and remote working. The client base includes hospitality, pharmaceutical, corporate and not-for-profit entities, of which the latter is a particular area of focus for the team. Regulatory specialist associate Ovini Nanayakkara joined the team in March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Ramani Muttettuwegama; Michael Paiva

Other key lawyers:

Ovini Nanayakkara


‘The team is very well-versed on labour and employment regulations in Sri Lanka and delivers exceptional legal research work.’

‘People are the strength of this team – they have different expertise to call upon when necessary.’

‘They ensure they deliver the given deliverables in the best possible way.’

‘Expertise and the collaborative way of working are the standouts of the team.’

‘The involvement with the issue and personalised service provided are appreciated by clients.’

Key clients

Hoist Support S L (Private) Limited

Eutech Cybernetic Lanka (Pvt) Ltd,

Himal South Asian

Women’s Fund Asia

Microchannel (Private) Limited

PWC Sri Lanka

Deloitte Sri Lanka

Fragomen Worldwide

Novo Nordisk Lanka (Private) Limited

Envoy Ortis

V I C M Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

Applexus Technologies (Pvt) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted Deloitte with preparing a compliance checklist as part of a larger project.
  • Provided a detailed legal opinion on engaging Sri Lankans on a remote working arrangement.
  • Advising clients via a global network partner on all aspects of the immigration landscape in Sri Lanka.

F. J. & G. De Saram

F. J. & G. De Saram‘s labour and employment practice is well known for advising on complex matters. Experienced practitioner Shehara Varia is at the helm of the department, which is equipped to handle both regulatory and litigious work,  involving such issues as alleged unfair dismissals and redundancies. Shevanthi Perera specialises in corporate-related employment matters, including assisting businesses with the employment aspects of their establishment, setting up and operations. Counsel Rozali Fernando is noteworthy for her expertise in contentious cases, which often reach the labour tribunal.

Practice head(s):

Shehara Varia

Other key lawyers:

Shevanthi Perera; Rozali Fernando

Sudath Perera Associates

Sudath Perera Associates‘ labour and employment workload includes a range of complex cases, from sensitive matters of alleged sexual harassment in the workplace and serious breaches of contract and misconduct, to cases involving alleged unfair severance and accidents in the workplace. The team frequently handles cross-jurisdictional mandates for clients in the entertainment, manufacturing and financial sectors, among others. Sudath Perera, senior counsel Manoj Bandara and Thidas Herath head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Sudath Perera; Manoj Bandara; Thidas Herath


‘Responsive, on time and have the same sense of urgency as clients do.’

‘Thidas is hugely knowledgeable and a great asset when doing business in Sri Lanka.’

‘Very thorough and competent professionals who always had our company’s best interests in mind.’

‘Thidas is a solid lawyer.’

‘Sudath has always been helpful and responsive to needs.’

‘The firm was able to handle cases without much intervention from the client, offering various solutions to suit their needs.’

‘Quick to respond, they offer tailored services and advice based on the situation at hand.’

Key clients

Fonterra Brands Lanka (Pvt) Ltd

Toyota Lanka (Pvt) Ltd

Reckitt Benckiser Lanka Ltd

Maga Engineering (Pvt) Ltd

German Development Corporation (GIZ)

Coats Thread Exports (Pvt) Ltd

Ceylon Tobacco Corporation PLC

The Colombo Plan Secretariat

GLC (Global Leading Conferences) Private Limited

Asia Broadcasting Corporation (Pvt) Ltd

Alliance Media Company (Pvt) Ltd