Reconsider decision to cancel background report – Women MPs

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Chairperson of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, requested the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment to reconsider the Cabinet decision which was taken to allow Sri Lankan mothers with children under the age of five years to go abroad for domestic work, without making the family background report that should have been submitted by the mothers going abroad, as a mandatory step.

Dr. Fernandopulle noted that due to this decision, the optimal physical and mental development of the children will be adversely affected in the first five years since the mother plays the main role in the early childhood development of the children.

This has been discussed at length at the joint meeting held with the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus and the Parliamentary Select Committee on gender equality to make necessary recommendations and report to Parliament. When women go abroad for domestic work (unskilled labour), the Divisional Secretariats conduct an investigation and give a family background report and they are given permission to go abroad based on that report.

Women with children under five years of age were not given a chance to go abroad, and if they had children above five years of age, the care, safety, and education of those children and many other factors were taken into consideration.

But, it has been decided at the Cabinet meeting held on 27 June to reduce the minimum age of children of mothers who go abroad for domestic work to two years and to no longer make it mandatory to submit a family background report which was essential until then.