Reiterating its commitment to employee welfare, Sri Lanka’s largest exporter and South Asia’s largest apparel tech manufacturer, MAS Holdings, has stepped forward once again to support struggling communities in the apparel sector. The company’s latest employee welfare and benefit programmes are rolled out as the nation collectively faces one of its most challenging inflationary cycles in history.

As an immediate measure, MAS notably responded to the elevated cost of living, paying several exgratia payments to all employees, collectively amounting to 125% of their monthly wage in 2022.

MAS has embarked on countless other initiatives to ease the difficulties its employees and communities faced and continue to face during the ongoing economic crisis and the pandemic. Director Human Resource Operations, MAS Holdings, Charaka Gunawardhana, highlighted its people-first approach that has uplifted the livelihoods of its employees and their families. “It gives me great pride and honour to be a part of a team that follows its people-first sentiment with action – action which is not just good on paper, but helps our employees put food on their table, provide books for their children, and peace of mind when it comes to their financial wellbeing.

We adjusted our employee wages in January 2022 and then again in April. In the face of rising economic challenges, we promise to keep a close watch on the situation and consider yet another wage adjustment to help ease the burden. We see that these difficult times show no sign of slowing down soon, and we will do what is needed for our people in 2023,” mentioned Gunawardhana.

As a response to severe economic challenges and the imminent threat of food shortages in the country, MAS was a first respondent for its people as it took multiple approaches to ensure food security. A notable donation was the provision of dry rations to over 80,000 employees, their families and third-party service providers by MAS.

Standing true to its commitment to uplifting livelihoods, MAS went beyond addressing physical needs, catering to the educational necessities for its employees’ children. The apparel giant recently announced the MAS Sisu Diriya scheme through which it will provide much-needed school supplies to the children of employees across all grades including third party service providers. Extending benefits to the communities in which MAS operates, during the fuel crisis in the country, MAS used its fuel supplies for a fleet of 80 buses to provide transport for school children to attend the Ordinary Level examinations earlier in 2022.

Giving equal attention to its employees’ mental health, MAS took measures to increase the availability of mental health counsellors at their plants, offering guidance and counselling as and when required.

MAS has now joined hands with the nation’s leading businesses in the “Manudam Mehewara” initiative, which is a humanitarian aid programme which benefits 119,000 families to which MAS made a striking Rs.100 million investment to assist low-income segments of the country through the Sarvodhaya movement.

Watch the Joint Apparel Association Forum video for an industry view on this topic here.