Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Young workers stand to gain from rule on retirement age

Young workers stand to gain from rule on retirement age

Young workers stand to gain from rule on retirement age

Supporters of Hun Sen's directive in favour of the rule say its

enforcement will lead to new ideas and reduce civil servant corruption.

PENSION PLANNING

Workers who remain in their jobs for 30 years receive 80 percent of their salaries upon retirement, said Meas Monika of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.  Workers who leave their jobs before the 30-year mark receive only 70 percent. 

WHEN Hun Sen issued a directive last month calling for stricter enforcement of the civil servant retirement age, it was warmly received by a range of officials, in particular those who represent younger workers and graduate students.

In the directive, issued January 12, Hun Sen called for the retirement of all male officials over the age of 60 and all female officials over the age of 55, in accordance with laws that have been on the books in some form since 1994.

Chea Se, a secretary of state for the Secretariat of Public Function, said the government employs around 200,000 civil servants. Though he was unable to say how many civil servants would be retired as a result of Hun Sen's directive, he did say that "many old men and women" are currently on the government payroll.

At the Ministry of Public Works and Transit, the government's largest, 157 workers out of 700 would need to retire to comply with the policy,

said Meas Monika, the ministry's human resources director.

Meas Monika said some older workers want to stay in their jobs to maximize the size of their pensions when they actually do retire. Others, he said, simply wouldn't know what to do with themselves if they retired.

"Some people over the age of 60 still feel fit and strong," he said. "If they stay home and do nothing, they will get bored or sick and could die sooner."

Benefits of the directive

But supporters of Hun Sen's directive said some older workers want to keep their positions for reasons less innocent than their love for the job.

"Our vision is to fight against corruption," said Sieng Rithy, chief of the education and advocacy unit for the Khmer Youth Association.

He said he has heard of cases in which employees have bribed their superiors to alter their recorded ages so they would not be forced to retire.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said more opportunities for corruption materialise the longer employees stay in the same job.

Sieng Rithy said enforcement of the directive would enable a new generation of employees to shape policies.  

"Youths are full of energy, and they bring fresh experiences that will help power the nation," he said.  

Hiring more young employees will also make government institutions responsive to the needs of the Kingdom's younger residents, Rong Chhun said. 

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