Employment Policies Under The Cambodian Labour Law

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The Labour Law states that employers should grant equal employment opportunities to workers and must not discriminate when hiring.

The Cambodia Labour Law of 1997 outlines employment relations resulting from employment contracts performed in Cambodia. The law applies to contracts for employment in the Kingdom regardless of the place of contracting, the nationality of the parties, or the residence of the parties.

A number of related regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Labour seek to promote change in the employment scheme from a labour-intensive orientation to one focused on skill-intensive industries in order to improve Cambodia’s competitiveness and productivity.

To ensure that equal employment opportunity, employers are prohibited from discriminating based on race, colour, sex, language, religious belief, political tendency, birth origin, social status, wealth or other status from the hiring process through during the term of employment. Employers are permitted to discriminate, however, in cases where the job requires specific skills.

Employers should be aware of the following recruiting procedures:

  • Minimum age: the minimum age for wage employment is 15 years old and extendable to 18 years old for work, which, by its nature, could be hazardous to the health, safety or morality of the adolescent. In specific circumstances, children from 12 to 15 years old can be hired to do light work provided that the work is not hazardous to their health or mental development and will not affect their school attendance or participation in vocational training.
  • Equal pay for equal work: the wage will be the same for all workers having the same skills and output.
  • Minimum wage: there is no set minimum wage for private sector employers with the exception of the garment and footwear industry; however, by law, salaries for private sector employees must be at least equal to the minimum guaranteed minimum wage: the salary must ensure the employee a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity.

Employers are permitted to recruit employees by their own devices directly; however, they must first notify the placement office of the Ministry in charge of labour or the provincial or municipal employment office of any vacancies or any new need for personnel. Employers may use the National Employment Agency (NEA), a special operating agency under the jurisdiction of the National Training Board, to look for personnel. The NEA plays a vital role in providing Cambodian citizens with employment and labour market services by matching job seekers with potential employers.

In line with labour market demands, the Ministry of Labour has outlined its strategic plan seeks to improve employability, adjust the minimum wage, and continue executing agreements with companies regarding working conditions. As a result, 106 technical and vocational training centres have been established, 39 of which are under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Labour, with 80,000 persons undergoing training each year.

 

Vo-Vanarith-Sciaroni & AssociatesThis article was written by Vo Vanarith, Head of Labour Practice Group at Sciaroni & Associates.

Vanarith brings broad experiences to the firm. He has advised clients on labour and HR, commercial law, issues pertaining to legal compliance and corporate matters. The recipient of awards from local and international competitions, he earned a Master of Law from University of Lyon 3 and Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE), a LLB from Pannasastra University and BA in Economics from Cambodian Mekong University. Vanarith speaks English, Khmer and conversational Thai.

Sciaroni & Associates, one of Southeast Asia’s leading professional services and investment advisory firms, has been providing skilled counsel and knowledgeable business insights for over two decades. Based in Cambodia with legal offices in Laos and Myanmar, their experienced team of advisors brings considerable general and sector-specific expertise to the challenges confronting companies doing business in emerging markets. Their clients comprise many of the world’s premier companies, banks, financial institutions, governments and global development organisations.

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