The government will increase the minimum wage for civil servants, teachers, doctors, and armed forces in a move to improve their living conditions next year.
Speaking in a cabinet meeting at the Peace Palace on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that wages for both government employees and garment workers will be increased, noting they will not have to pay income tax.
“The government has put forth effort to implement policies to improve the lives of civil servants, teachers, doctors, National Police officers, soldiers and garment workers since the 5th mandate of the National Assembly,” he said, referring to the period of 2013 to 2018.
Mr Hun Sen said the minimum wage for civil servants is due to increase from $275 to $293, and from $300 to $ 318 for teachers and doctors.
The government will also increase the minimum wage from $296 to $314 for National Police officers holding ranks of staff sergeant, from $264 to $295 for military police officers holding ranks of first sergeant; contractual officer wages will also increase to $167.
The salary increases will come into effect next year. Mr Hun Sen said that wages below $325 will be exempt from income tax.
“As long as Cambodian People’s Party continues to win elections, the government will not charge any tax on farmlands and on minimum-wage workers,” Mr Hun Sen noted.
Government spokesman Phay Siphan said that the cabinet meeting also approved a draft national budget for 2020, in which the government has set $8.2 billion as the budget, an increase of 22.7 percent compared to 2019.
Public Service Ministry spokesman Chhoeun Bunnarath said wages for civil servants have increased yearly since 2013.
“For 2020, the government has a plan to continue increasing the minimum wage for civil servants to improve their living conditions,” Mr Bunnarath said.
Heak Pring, Cambodia’s Independent Civil Servants Association president, yesterday hailed the increase.
“It is good that the government pays attention to its employees,” Mr Pring said. “But even with the increased salaries for all civil servants, they still face challenges because the price of goods in the markets continues to rise, so if the government can prevent high inflation, it would be much better.”
Ouk Chhayavy, president of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said the government denied her request asking for an increase of teachers’ salaries to about $500.
Ms Chhayavy said that a raise of $18 to the current $300 is meagre and could not offset inflation.
“The salary raise for our teachers is not enough to offset an increased price of goods in the markets,” she said.