PM announces boost to maternity leave salaries

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KT/Ven Rathavong

Prime Minister Hun Sen again met with garment sector workers yesterday, adding a boost to maternity leave salaries to a range of promises he had made to them on Tuesday.

At a meeting with thousands of workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone, Mr Hun Sen said that female workers will now receive 120 percent of the minimum wage for three months of maternity leave.

Previously, maternity leave workers were only receiving 50 percent of their wages.

“We must implement like this,” Mr Hun Sen said, adding that he called on employers to create facilities for workers to get regular health checks during their pregnancies.

“All female workers who deliver a child will get three months of maternity leave,” he added. “The wage for the three months will be 120 percent of the minimum wage.”

KT/Ven Rathavong

On Sunday, Mr Hun Sen promised that garment and footwear industry workers will get free bus rides for two years, a minimum wage hike and health insurance.

He said that the minimum wage would rise to $168 per month in 2018 and in January health insurance would become the responsibility of factory employers, saving workers between $2 and $3 per month.

Yesterday, he clarified that all workers of all sectors will get free healthcare and free bus rides as well.

He explained that from January 2018, all workers in all sectors, including construction, restaurants and hotels, will get free health care at public hospitals.

“The state will be responsible through equity funds which are already covering three million people,” he said, adding that he estimates two million more workers will receive benefits from the new changes.

Sorn Ry, a 28-year-old worker at Evergreen Industrial Co., LTD., said that she is happy of the maternity leave salary boost because she will soon deliver a child.

KT/Ven Rathavong

“Before we got only 50 percent of our salaries,” she said, adding that with the pay boost she will be able to afford more essentials for her child.

“I feel happy that government always thinks about workers and Cambodian people.”

Som Len, another pregnant worker from the same factory, said that this is her first pregnancy, and she is due within the next two months.

“Now I can buy everything for my baby,” she said.

“I think this maternity wage is very significant.”

Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, supported the announcement, and explained how the maternity changes will work.

“The workers will get 50 percent of their wage paid by employers and the other 70 percent will come from the government’s National Social Security Fund,” he said.

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