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Ministry to monitor seniority payments

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Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng at a meeting in 2015. Hong Menea

Ministry to monitor seniority payments

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training says it will monitor the implementation of seniority indemnity payments to all factory employees in line with the new policy which comes into force this month.

The ministry is also ready to impose a fine on any factory failing to follow the policy.

Tes Rokaphal, deputy secretary-general of the ministry’s General Secretariat of the Committee for the Resolution of Strikes and Demonstrations, told The Post on Sunday that the ministry will continue to urge employers to implement the prakas on payment of seniority indemnity, which is to be paid to workers with their salary.

“Seniority indemnity back pay and future seniority indemnity payments for workers will begin in late June. If any factory is found to have failed to implement the payment of back pay and seniority indemnity for workers, there will be a fine on those enterprises."

“As far as I can see, there is no problem because we have the participation of organisations such as the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia [GMAC] and we have received a letter from them saying they will instruct their members to implement this prakas.

“We certainly hope there is no problem because we have been disseminating this information since late last year,” he said.

He requested that factory workers accept what the ministry is implementing and avoid demanding more than what has been stipulated.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour confirmed that seniority indemnity should be paid to workers with their June salaries but could not make an assessment of the extent of the scheme’s implementation until payday arrives.

“An evaluation cannot be made, as payday has not come yet. The money is to be paid with June salaries,” he said.

GMAC chairman Van Sou Ieng declined to comment to The Post, referring questions to GMAC deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika.

Monika said briefly: “There is no problem. We are working with the ministry [of Labour and Vocational Training] to organise a three-day training course from Tuesday to Thursday on how to calculate payment.”

Last year, the ministry issued a prakas changing the procedure for paying seniority indemnity for workers in the textile, garment and footwear (TGF) sectors.

Instead of paying it in full when terminating workers’ contracts, the payments are to be made regularly twice a year and must include seniority indemnity due before this year.

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Garment factory workers at Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone in 2018. POST STAFF

Seniority indemnity for enterprises outside the TGF sectors will be implemented in the same way, but the settlement of back pay has been delayed until December 2021.

Sour said employers must provide workers with a payment equal to 15 days per year of their wages, along with other benefits, with 7.5 days paid every June and the other 7.5 days in December each year.

The back pay of seniority indemnity before 2019 is initially only being implemented for the TGF sectors.

Employees in the TGF sectors who have worked prior to January 1 this year and remain working for an enterprise will be entitled to 30 days of back pay per year to a maximum of six months.

They are to receive 15 days of seniority payment in June each year and 15 days every December.

Srey Neang, who has worked at W&D Cambodia’s garment factory for more than five years, said it will be good if workers’ seniority indemnity really is paid later this month, but she was worried that the payments may not be paid correctly.

“If it is really paid, it will relieve some of my financial burdens. Of course, I am happy but it’s not clear whether their method of payment is correct or not or how they are going to pay us."

“Some time ago, I had a meeting with them and they said if there were any new developments, they would tell me – but I haven’t received any news,” Srey Neang said.

Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina said he doesn’t believe that all factories will pay seniority indemnity on time because he had seen evidence of evasion and some factories do not have sufficient funds.

“It cannot be widely implemented yet as I think some factories may face financial problems and delay it to the following month,” he said.

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