The Labour Ministry on Friday issued two directives on wages and indemnity to improve labour conditions for workers.
The first directive titled Wage Payment for Workers/Employees states that from January onward company owners are required to pay employee wages once every two weeks, noting that other benefits are to be paid once per month.
The second directive titled Payment of Seniority Indemnity states that beginning in January seniority indemnity is required to be made twice a year.
It said that workers’ seniority indemnity is equal to 15 days of their wages and benefits per year, adding that payments should be made in June and December.
Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said that the directives are aimed to ensure that workers consistently receive their wages and indemnity.
“This is a kind of good news for all employees,” Mr Sour said. “They can get their wages twice per month and their seniority indemnity twice per year.”
He said that workers employed prior to 2019 and workers with unfixed contract durations will also be provided indemnity from their employers.
Mr Sour noted that workers in the garment sector who have been employed for more than two years will get 30 days of indemnity.
As for workers outside the garment sector, those who have worked for more than one year will receive 15 days of indemnity, he said.
In July, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the government has spent $22 million on garment workers’ missing wages after factory owners closed shop and fled.
Mr Hun Sen said that the government has forced factory owners to pay indemnity in order to avoid problems should they flee.
“The government has spent a lot of money to save workers,” he said. “The government is also demanding indemnity for workers.”
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia earlier this year said that it welcomed worker protection and payments of indemnity, but noted that the move could financially burden employers.
Toun Saren, Collective Union of Movement of Workers secretary-general, said fleeing employers continue to be one of the most distressing labour issues.
“I think it’s good for the protection of workers because there are many cases of fleeing employers that left workers with missing wages,” Mr Saren said.
Sao Phalla, a garment worker who previously rallied for missing wages, said that the implementation of the two directives would protect workers.
“Some workers try to work for five to ten years, but many employers flee before that moment,” Mr Phalla said. “So it’s good that the government is forcing employers to pay yearly indemnities.”