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Absent workers during KNY must go on 14 days unpaid leave and mandatory self-quarantine

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Throngs of people at a Khmer New Year gathering. The government is trying to prevent this to avoid the risk of a huge breakout of the deadly CIVID-19 virus. KT/Chor Sokunthea

A senior official at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) said that the workers who go on unpaid leave during the cancelled Khmer New Year will have to undergo mandatory 14 days self-quarantine if they breach the government’s sub-decree.

In addition to the quarantine, their absence will be treated as unpaid leave.

MoLVT’s spokesman Heng Sour said that to prevent the infection of the novel coronavirus after Khmer New Year, and based on the quarantine orders, these measures were necessary to prevent a sudden surge in the pandemic.

“All administration of the factories, enterprises and company must take note of the personal particulars of the employees who may be absent from work during the Khmer New Year and give these details to quarantine officials and who will then prepare to put the workers into the  14 days self-quarantine before they would be allowed to return to work,” Heng added.

A call came from Garment industry insiders alleged that the already beleaguered sector is facing another challenge as around 60 percent of their workers wanted to apply to return home for the Khmer New Year next week.

“I don’t think 60 percent of workers would apply for leave. There may be about  30 percent who may be applying but factory and unions are explaining to the workers what awaits them when they try to return to work and the specter of 14 days unpaid leave.

Based on many countries’ experience, Covid-19 starts to spread after traditional gatherings or religious gatherings,” Heng added. He said that the purpose of lockdown measure by many countries is to prevent the mass movement and gathering of people.

Kaing Monika, deputy secretary general for the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), told Khmer Times that workers and employees can apply for leave, but it’s also the management’s prerogative to grant leave or not in accordance with the law and company’s internal rule.

“To protect the spread of the virus from one another, it is the correct measure to implement the 14 days quarantine. I think the factories can submit the names to the authorities to help monitor the quarantine on those not following the government’s protective measures,” Mr Monika said.

“Trying to protect people from harm should not be considered as violation of human rights,” he added. “Balance between individual rights and public safety is always an ever-changing equation. Measures to protect people from harm shall not be considered a violation of human rights but rather viewed as their right to a healthy life and in fact life itself,” Monika said.

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