Prime Minister Hun Sen promised to pay female garment workers $100 for each newborn child on his latest factory tour visit, adding to an already growing list of pledges, with the premier saying some of it would come out of his own pocket.
With an eye on next year’s elections, the premier has been touring industrial parks in and around the capital and met with thousands of workers promising at least a $160 minimum wage, free health care and insurance, and free bus rides for those residing in Phnom Penh.
Hun Sen, who was speaking at Canadia Industrial Park, which was the site of worker protests that were violently quashed in 2014, said the National Social Security Fund would hand out a $100 allowance for each baby born to a worker after January 1, $200 for twins and $300 for triplets or more.
“And besides that, those with multiple babies will also get extra allowance from me and my wife,’’ he said.
The premier’s promise is similar to a ruling party charitable initiative of honouring triplets as honorary “godchildren” of the Prime Minister, who are also entitled to close to $750, two boxes of formula, 200 kilograms of rice, five kilograms of sugar, two sarongs and two kramas.
Asked about the premier’s promises, Phall Sophea, a worker at Gladpeer garment factory, was concerned the logistics of the announcement would be its undoing, because getting regular maternity pay was already difficult. “My co-workers are waiting between two to three months and still not getting it. I’m concerned it will take so long to get that [new] payment,” she said.