Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng said on Monday that 95 per cent of factories and enterprises are continuing their production as normal, with workers remaining at work on the first day of the Khmer New Year holidays.
The government has postponed the New Year celebrations and imposed a travel ban across the Kingdom until April 16, the last day of the holiday, in a bid to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak in communities.
A sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen said the government will make up for the lost holidays with five off-days for civil servants and employees in the private sector at an appropriate time.
“I commend employers and workers for their collaboration and compliance with the government’s directive. This shows we are united in the fight against Covid-19 with employees working as normal during the New Year holidays,” Sam Heng said in a Facebook post.
Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said the compliance was a positive sign.
“Workers and employees who take days off during the Khmer New Year will have to be kept in quarantine for 14 days after the holidays and won’t be paid their salaries for the duration,” he said.
Sour said approximately 860,000 workers are working in the garment, textile and footwear sectors. More than 10 factories had shut down while over 100 announced a suspension of operations.
Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post on Monday that workers will continue to work as normal during the last three days of the holidays.
“A large number of our workers came to work. [The government] will make up for the lost holidays. This encourages them to continue working.
“We have also observed that other sectors are also continuing their operations as normal,” he said.
Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said he was happy that most workers had followed the government’s directive. He said the compliance could help them avoid infection as none of them has contracted the virus thus far.
“Their workplace is a safe one. We know some workers are not happy because they used to have time off, but they need to understand that their gatherings from one village to another could cause a major outbreak,” he said.