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Employees get three days off on New Year

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Garment workers leave their factory in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Employees get three days off on New Year

The government has decided to allow private and state employees to enjoy a three day holiday from work for Khmer New Year – scheduled this year from April 14 to April 16 – but they have been instructed to assiduously follow all health safety guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

According to a directive on the Khmer New Year Holiday signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on March 21, the government will permit workers at both private businesses and state institutions to have three days off from work in accordance with the 2021 holiday calendar.

“To ensure the safety of the lives of the Cambodian people; public health; and public order; and to minimise the effects of Covid-19 on the social and economic sectors of Cambodia; the government of Cambodia has taken some measures involving the Khmer New Year holiday,” the directive stated.

The government also called on transportation companies and private transport operators not to increase their transportation fees for the holiday and to adhere to health safety guidelines to thoroughly protect their passengers from the spread of Covid-19.

Hun Sen also asked that officials and institutions at all levels of government help to ensure security, safety and public order during the holiday.

“[They] must ensure that the public [follows] the health guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19 assiduously and thoroughly in all public places – especially at pagodas, resorts and other locations where people are gathering,” he said in the directive.

The government also appealed to the public to avoid unnecessary travel to high risk locations for Covid-19 transmission as determined by the health ministry or provincial authorities.

Hun Sen also advised people to avoid some events – including attending any religious ceremonies with a large number of participants – and to follow the three protections and three don’ts guidelines.

Hun Sen also noted that garment workers have two possible options available to them in accordance with the previously negotiated terms between the government and the employers and factories in their industry.

The first option for garment workers is to take their holiday on the dates scheduled on the calendar, April 14-16. The second option is to go to work on those dates as they normally would but then be permitted to take three days off on any other future dates during the calendar year, as prescribed by Cambodia’s labour laws.

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