Cambodia to legislate minimum wage for all workers

Cambodia to legislate minimum wage for all workers

Cambodian Labour Minister Ith Samheng addressing the media’s questions on the national minimum wage in Phnom Penh. (Photo by KT/Chor Sokunthea)

PHNOM PENH – A new law providing for a national minimum wage for all workers will come into force by the end of the year, the Labor Minister Ith Samheng said after union and employer representatives met officials to discuss the issue on Thursday.

The minister said the talks focused on a draft of the law, which will allow for a monthly minimum wage across all industries.

Several sectors already have a minimum wage, such as the garment and textile industry, which pays staff at least US$153 each month. Teachers and doctors are paid at least $238 a month, according to a report in Khmer Times.

Mr Samheng said a national council on the minimum wage will  research and provide recommendations on the wages and other benefits. It will represent all three main stakeholders – government, workers and employers.

“This law is good news for workers because their wage will be set. It will also help to reduce strikes,” he said.

The minister said officials will finish the draft law this year. Thursday’s talks marked the first public workshop on the issue. There will be a second such workshop before the draft is sent to other government ministries, the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly.

Employer representative Nang Sothy welcomed the move and said it will encourage stability in industries across the country.

“We will check over it and give recommendations to help make sure it is acceptable to everyone,” he said.

Ath Thon, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, said the draft law was a positive step forward but amendments would be necessary to balance the needs of employees and employers.

He praised the fact the council on the minimum wage will comprise 16 representatives from the Labour Ministry, 16 from unions and 16 from employers.

“It is good that our country is adopting this law while other countries in the region have yet to do so,” he said.

The minimum wage law would be successful if it is founded on constitutional principles, labour law and international conventions, he said, while warning the law should not be used to curtail the rights of unions.

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