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New law set to benefit those working in the private sector

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Garment factory workers walk along Veng Sreng Boulevard in Phnom Penh after clocking out. Hong Menea

New law set to benefit those working in the private sector

Workers and employees in the private sector will receive the same benefits as those in the public sector if they pay their income tax and fulfil other legal requirements.

The recently passed Law on Social Security Schemes states that workers and employees in the private sector are entitled to a pension and other benefits that civil servants receive.

It was signed off by the King and passed into law as a matter of urgency early this month.

Its scope covers people working in the public sector and those protected by the Labour Law. They include those working in the air and maritime sectors, as well as domestic workers and the self-employed.

Consisting of 11 chapters and 107 articles, the law aims to ensure income security for them when facing social risks, including disability, death, work-related accidents and unemployment, among others.

Article 21 states that the sources of pensions for all workers and employees come from the state, employers and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) members, as well as from investments and donations in line with the law.

Sum Sophorn, the deputy director of the NSSF at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, told The Post on Wednesday that officials were preparing legal documents related to the law for further dissemination to the public.

“It has already taken effect after being passed, but in the first phase of our implementation in 2020,

we will focus on workers and employees in the private sector first,” he said.

Sophorn said workers and employees in the private sector who have been registered [with the NSSF] would not need to re-register but are required to continue paying their dues in the form of income tax through their employers as stipulated in the new law.

Since the NSSF began operations in late 2008, he said around 1.6 million workers and employees in the private sector have been registered.

While some trade unions have expressed concerns over the effective implementation of the law, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) has requested a delay in its implementation.

It said the immediate effect of the pension scheme’s implementation would lead to financial pressure on employers while some companies had not prepared their financial plan for next year. Some employers, it said, were also not fully aware of the law.

GMAC urged the NSSF to invest in upgrading facilities, technology and strengthen the capacity of its officers whom, it said, should acquire relevant soft and technical skills to effectively respond to members’ enquiries.

“Start to widely promote and raise awareness of NSSF’s coverage and its benefits to the public in order to encourage the informal sectors to participate in the scheme, especially, the pension scheme,” it said.

Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, applauded the new law for including workers and employees in the private sector, especially those covered by the Labour Law and urged the relevant authorities to ensure its transparent implementation.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said the government will provide an opportunity for relevant parties to provide inputs so that the implementation of the pension scheme for the private sector is successful.

“The old law is still in effect and the sub-decree will go through further tripartite discussions. So any concerns and inputs will be addressed. We will invite the relevant parties to attend discussions on it,” he said.

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