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Ministry reminds businesses to comply with labour law

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Garment workers at Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone. Hong Menea

Ministry reminds businesses to comply with labour law

A labour ministry spokesman urged owners of factories and manufacturing enterprises to abide by the law, as inspection teams continue to find that some of them are not complying, often by failing to pay seniority benefits.

The reminder came following a May letter of instruction by the labour inspection department under the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to the owners and directors of manufacturers outside the garment, footwear and travel goods sectors, concerning the implementation of enterprise regulations, general occupational and health and safety conditions, and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) payments.

Labour ministry spokesman Heng Sour told The Post that every year, specialised units send the reminders to factories and enterprises, reminding them to comply with the conditions set out in labour law.

“It is an annual matter for them to remind factory owners and directors to be aware of their obligations.

“Every year, fines are issued to those who do not comply,” he said.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said the instruction letters was a good way to remind businesses that they must respect the working conditions laid out in legislation.

He said that in order to make the implementation more effective, the ministry should strengthen strict law enforcement against businesses that do not respect the law, to ensure compliance with working conditions and workers’ benefits.

“What is still lacking is enforcement. We have the laws in place, and the ministry makes sure that all businesses are aware of them. However, weak enforcement often favours the employers rather than the workers,” he said.

He said that at present, some factories and enterprises continue to violate labour laws, mostly through issues related to employment contracts, non-payment of seniority and no paid leave.

Many contracts cheated workers and some businesses did not pay into the NSSF, he added.

Kim Sour, an assistant at local enterprise Hong Seng Hy, spoke in support of this move, saying that owners should always respect the rights of their workers.

She added that her enterprise cared about the safety of its employees, and had never been fined by the labour department.

“We don’t get fined because we comply with labour laws and make sure that all of our workers share equal rights,” she said.

The May 27 letter of instruction, signed by labour department director Khem Bunchhean, read that factories and enterprises must comply, and if found to be in violation, shall be fined according to the law.

The letter added that business owners must provide weekly wages and pay on public holidays.

The department added that “remuneration for seniority pay before 2019, new seniority pay, and severance pay at the end of contracts must be paid correctly.”

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