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Ministry announces new round of cash handouts for laid-off workers

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Garment workers leave their factory after work in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district in May. Hong Menea

Ministry announces new round of cash handouts for laid-off workers

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training announced the government’s next round of cash assistance for 6,366 laid-off workers from 22 factories in the garment and tourism sectors that had suspended operation due to the pandemic.

The cash handout is in accordance with the government’s raft of social assistance programmes implemented during the Covid-19 outbreak.

According to the ministry’s announcement on September 1, this is the government’s 68th relief package.

The ministry said the cash handouts are paid in riel and based on how long the worker had been out of work. Those who have been laid off from seven to 10 days will receive 60,750 riel ($15), those for 11-20 and 21-30 days would receive the equivalent of $30 and $40, respectively.

Electronic payment service provider Wing will send a message to workers’ telephone numbers provided to the ministry through their factory management. It will transfer the cash assistance back to the government if workers fail to pick it up within 10 days of receiving notification from Wing.

The ministry told workers to bring their Khmer national identification cards and phones to any Wing agent. The transfer has no service charge.

Any worker that does not receive a message from Wing are advised to update their phone number and contact their factory administration. The ministry will continue to inform other workers about receiving the cash allowance.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said that in the previous cash handouts, about 90 per cent of workers received allowances from the government, but technical issues related to wrong phone numbers or names had led to about 10 per cent of them not receiving the allowance. But the issue was resolved.

He said the provision of cash to workers in the garment and tourism sectors has assisted with alleviating difficulties, but only a small portion. He said the number of workers suspended during the pandemic exceeded that of workers receiving assistance from the government.

The reason, he said, was that some unregistered factories, enterprises and hotels did not report workers’ suspension to the ministry.

“The government considered only companies, factories and enterprises that are registered. This is a problem,” he said.

He said some hotels also suspended workers but did not report it to the government because they are not registered, leaving them suffering,” he said.

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