The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training will make the final cash support payment to 129 tourism workers in Siem Reap province whose employment contracts were suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The final payments were announced by the ministry on February 22.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance first announced in January that it would eliminate the government subsidy of $40 per month to Siem Reap hospitality workers.

The 129 workers were previously employed at Sokha Siem Reap Resort and Convention Centre, Smiling Hotel and Ta Prohm Hotel and Spa.

According to the ministry, the cash support will be provided in riel. The amount of each payment depends on the number of days each worker is suspended per month. Those who are suspended from 11 to 20 days per month will receive 121,500 riel ($30), while those who do not work from 21 days to a full month will receive 162,000 riel.

The cash will be transferred through Wing Bank (Cambodia). In order to withdraw their payments, the 129 eligible workers must show their Cambodian national identity cards and the phone number the notification was sent to. Wing will refund allowances to the government if they are not withdrawn within 10 days of receiving the notification.

“Workers who receive the cash support payments are not required to pay a service fee to Wing agents. If a worker is eligible for the payment but has not received a notification message, they should contact the administration of the enterprise they are suspended from,” said the ministry.

Mam Rithy, president of the Cambodian Tourism and Services Workers Federation, said the provision of cash support to workers in the tourism sector was important, as their living expenses had not stopped just because their work had.

“I encourage the labour ministry to continue offering this assistance, as the industry is far from fully recovered, with many workers still suspended from their full-time employment,” he added.

“If the payments are halted, this could be dangerous for some workers. The number of tourists visiting Siem Reap is increasing, it is true, but the tourist industry is a long way from approaching its pre-pandemic levels. Many premises remain shut,” he noted.

He suggested that the labour ministry survey the province’s tourism-related businesses to assess how many staff had been laid off or suspended, so it could provide them with support.