The country is going through worst financial turmoil in seven decades caused by a severe foreign exchange crisis.
Sri Lanka relies heavily on fuel imports, and its existing stock is set to run out in a few days.
"Taking into consideration the severe limits on fuel supply, the weak public transport system and the difficulty in using private vehicles, this circular allows minimal staff to report to work from Monday," the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry said on Friday.
The circular added that healthcare workers will continue to report for duty.
The United Nations has proposed a plan to raise $47 million to provide assistance, and the International Monetary Fund is in talks with the government for a bailout package.
The main cause is the shortage of foreign currency, which has led to a huge reduction in imports of essential items like petroleum, food, paper, sugar, lentils, medicines, and transportation equipment.
The roots of the shortage lie in the recent failure of the tourism industry, the failure to procure enough FDI, and the government’s refusal to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Tourism contributes to around 10 percent of Sri Lanka's GDP. It was already suffering after the 2019 blasts in Colombo. COVID-19 made it worse.
Those sectors that earned foreign currency were devastated, thereby reducing its inflow.
(With inputs from Reuters.)