The agenda for Sustainable Development identifies decent work as an important component of the goal 8. Employment creation, social protection, rights at work and social dialogue are identified as the four interrelated pillars of decent work. Promoting access to decent work has many benefits, including reducing inequality, promoting human dignity, facilitating sustainable economic growth and development. In countries where wage income is a major component of household’s income, giving more access to decent work can also promote poverty reduction. For this to be achieved, both males and females should get access to decent work. However, data shows that female participation in the labour market is low, and even when they do participate, they do so in poor quality jobs that do not provide social protection. This study assesses the legal, social and physical barriers to decent work in Sri Lanka and recommends policies for overcoming these.