The government has included the equivalent of $8 million in its budget for Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben holiday bonuses for 500,000 civil servants and members of the armed forces.

According to a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 19, each will be provided with a bonus of 100,000 riel between holidays in April and October.

The families included those of the members of the executive, legislative and court bodies; officials of the National police, prison officials of the Ministry of Interior; combatants of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF); officials of the National Audit Authority; officials of the National Election Committee (NEC); and officials of the cabinet as prescribed in the sub-decree No 11 dated January 31, 2017.

“The national ministries and institutions and the sub-national institutions have to propose the number of officials entitled to bonuses to the Ministry of Economy and Finance as quickly as possible so that the finance ministry can ensure on-time payments,” Hun Sen said.

The sub-decree added that the finance ministry and relevant ministries and institutions had to cooperate to prepare advance payments for the bonuses by April 10, 2021 for Khmer New Year.

Hun Sen stated that a civil servant will be provided with a bonus of 50,000 riel for Khmer New Year and another 50,000 riel during Pchum Ben.

Families of deceased veterans will also be provided those same amounts. The bonuses will be provided to one person or to one family, but only once between them if a family is eligible for more than one reason such as having a living member who is a civil servant and a deceased member who was a veteran or a husband and wife both working as civil servants.

The sub-decree said that the bonuses will be provided through their bank accounts. Ministries, institutions and units which have yet to open bank accounts for the salaries of civil servants, staff and other agents have to manage payment of the bonuses some other way but they will be expected to do so on time.

Ministry of Civil Service spokesman Youk Bunna said that although Cambodia is now combating Covid-19, every year during the national holidays the government figures out the bonuses for civil servants and members of the armed force and would continue to do so this year.

“We plan to spend a budget of $8,000,000 this year to be offered to civil servants and families of deceased veterans. In total, this year, there are 500,000 civil servants who will receive bonuses,” he said.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Pech Pisey observed that the government has offered the bonuses to civil servants over the last few years in part to compensate for low salaries.

“I think that if our national budget doesn’t have any problems, then the provision of these bonus payments to civil servants is good because our civil servants are often paid very little for their regular salaries. So it’s good that they are paid bonuses for the holidays,” he said.

Pisey noted that today’s payments to civil servants no longer had the problems or irregularities they once did in years past, because the payments are now all made automatically through bank deposits.