Traditionally in Sri Lanka, labour has been considered a cost rather than a resource to be developed. Labour welfare improvement programmes were launched mainly for humanitarian reasons. There is increasing qualitative evidence of links between worker welfare and estate productivity. However, no study until this juncture had rigorously assessed the direction and magnitude of these linkages. This study hopes to fill this gap. Using a multivariate analysis, it examined the inter linkages between social welfare programmes and labour performance indicators while controlling for all other contributory factors.
The results for the most part are consistent with conventional wisdom and the findings of earlier qualitative studies. They show that most welfare programmes have a positive effect on labour outturn and productivity, and management can expect to improve profits through investments in welfare programmes. One exception was the impact of new or improved housing on labour outturn. The study cautions that this unexpected result could possibly be due to the nature of the housing programme and its recent inception. It argues that the impact of better housing on labour performance may also be positive as the housing programme matures.