Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday advised the Labour Ministry to permit male garment workers to take paid leave when their wives give birth.
During a speech to nearly 20,000 factory workers at an automobile industrial complex in Svay Rieng province, Mr Hun Sen said that he is coordinating with the industry and labour ministries in order to increase paternal leave days.
“Female workers can take a three month maternity leave while receiving 120 percent of wages. Their husbands should also be able to take care of their children,” the Prime Minister said. “So, should we have a policy for husbands to be able to take three days or a week off with pay so they can help take care of their families?”
Mr Hun Sen said that thousands of female workers get government benefits that should also be considered for male workers.
“So far this year alone, there were nearly 20,000 female workers who were granted maternal leaves and government bonuses,” he said, stressing that husbands must be there for their wives.
“This is something that has to be discussed with ministries, unions and factories,” he added. “I don’t think this is too much to ask.”
Mr Hun Sen said that the government is prepared to pay at least $10 million per year to female workers who bear children. He said that currently, Cambodia’s garment industry employs about 700,000 workers, most of whom are women.
The Prime Minister said that he was thinking about how he could support women during their pregnancy period, while noting other benefits pregnant women can have such as the ability to leave work 15 minutes early.
Kaing Monika, deputy secretary-general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, supported paid leave for husbands whose wives give birth.
“I support what the Prime Minister said because I think that three days to a week is too little,” he said. “Husbands should be allowed to take paid leaves for a week or two because they have to be there for their wives and kids.”