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Late pay raises teachers’ anger

Late payment of overtime has stirred up tensions among teachers in Kampong Cham province, who say they still have not received payment owed to them for hours worked in November and December.

The additional owed salary may not seem substantial – hourly overtime rates for high school and junior high school teachers are 5,200 riel ($1.30) and 2,600 riel ($0.65), respectively – said Nuth Soeun, a teacher at Meanchey Bun Rany Hun Sen High School in Kampong Cham’s Cheung Prey district, but the money and the wait are significant to educators who earn salaries of about $200 per month.

“[Late overtime payment] has occurred across the province, and the top officials say that some schools fail to submit their forms . . . [Teachers’] overtime wages are not much, but they are part of our livelihood,” said Soeun, who added that teachers frequently receive their overtime pay late.

About 20 teachers who work at Soeun’s school are waiting on their overtime from the last two months of 2014, he said.

Svay Phalla, director of Kampong Cham’s education department, said yesterday that there are about 120 schools in the province, and none of the teachers had yet received the outstanding payments.

Overtime is supposed to be paid every three months, Phalla said. However, it’s usually late because the provincial Education Department cannot file for overtime with the Ministry of Education until all schools have submitted their overtime forms, and some schools regularly hand them in late.

“Every year it’s the same,” said Phalla, who added that Kampong Cham teachers will receive their overtime payments for November and December in the near future. “For now, we are going to pay them for November and December; but only some schools have fulfilled their forms for January, February and March.”

Neither Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron, nor ministry spokesman Ros Salin could be reached for comment yesterday.

The problem of late overtime payments is not unique to Kampong Cham, said Uk Chayavy, acting president of Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, and adds to the indignity of educators who have to “shout over children in crammed classrooms and live on a minimal salary”.



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