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More unemployment benefits on the way for garment and tourism sectors

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Garment workers leave from a factory in Phnom Penh on March 18, 2021. Heng Chivoan

More unemployment benefits on the way for garment and tourism sectors

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has announced the provision of the 60th round of unemployment benefits for over 5,000 workers in the garment and tourist sectors affected by the pandemic.

In a notice on May 11, the ministry said the provision of the unemployment benefits is for 5,262 workers at 29 factories and enterprises in the garment and tourist sectors who had their employment contracts suspended.

Electronic payments service provider Wing will send SMS messages about the government payments to the worker’s phone numbers listed with their employers, according to the notice.

The ministry said the payments will be paid in riel and were based on the number of days of the employee’s contract suspension. Each worker would receive 60,750 riel ($15) for contracts suspended from seven to 10 days; 121,500 riel for contracts suspended from 11 to 20 days; and 162,000 riel for contracts suspended from 21 days to a month or more.

The ministry reminded workers that the bank would transfer the payments back to the government if they failed to pick up their payments within 10 days of the SMS message notifications.

In order to get their payments, they have to take their IDs and the phone that received the messages to the nearest Wing agency. There are no service charges for the payments.

Cambodian Labour Confederation president Ath Thon said the continuation of the payments to unemployed workers was a good policy, but that the government should consider providing such payments to all workers in the locked down areas.

“What the government used to provide for the workers has helped workers partially. But now a major challenge is for workers in the red zones,” he said.

The government issued a directive on May 12 providing social security cash to low-income people in the lockdown areas, particularly for those who have tested positive for Covid-19 or who have a family member with the virus.

The government has already delivered some Covid-19 relief packages and some money to vulnerable families, poor people and workers in those areas.

The government has also decided to provide 160,000 riel to each worker who is infected with Covid-19. But the worker must work in a factory or enterprise in the garment, footwear or handbag manufacturing sectors in Phnom Penh, Kandal province’s Takmao town or Preah Sihanouk province, according to the directive.

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