The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said on Friday that suspended factory workers would be required to attend soft skills training courses to receive full government allowances.
It said when a factory announces 100 per cent suspension of work, 40 per cent of workers’ wages would be provided by their employers. However, to receive the further 20 per cent from the government, the workers would need to attend ministry-organised training courses at the factories.
They will also need to ask for and complete the relevant employment contract suspension paperwork, enrol for the course and request continuity payments from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
The ministry said no factory had thus far announced 100 per cent work suspension.
The ministry said during work suspension, factories were also allowed to temporarily halt making NSSF payments, but workers could still use its health care services and receive allowances for occupational risks and benefits.
The statement said: “The Secretariat of the Labour Advisory Committee must collaborate with project directors and relevant parties to disseminate the positive progress of working conditions, labour rights and freedom of unions in Cambodia to workers, national and international news agencies and development partners”.
Ministry spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on Sunday that the training courses for workers were announced as a formality, and not because any factory had fully suspended work.
“Until now, workers of some factories have been partially suspended from their work, but it is not a 100 per cent suspension. Factories have not yet asked for intervention from the government,” he said.
On February 27, Sour told a press conference that in March nearly 200 factories would suffer raw material shortages and find it difficult to remain open. This would result in around 160,000 workers facing lay-offs.
Collective Union of Movement of Workers president Pav Sina approved of the move, but said it might be difficult for workers in some cases to comply with conditions to get the further 20 per cent allowance from the government.
He voiced concern that if the issues continued, its impact on the sector would only increase.
“In general, no sector can replace textiles. If hundreds of thousands of garment factory workers face joblessness, it will be difficult to find new jobs for them.
“Some factories have reduced staff and some workers were laid off. So, I think it will have a huge effect on the workers’ finances. It will affect other sectors too as they are all inter-connected. There has not yet been something new to replace the garment sector,” he said.
He expects the government to soon introduce new measures to do whatever they can to allow materials to be imported and supplied nationwide, without waiting for the Chinese market alone.