practice area articles
By Jay Cohen
Back to International Employment Law
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2020
Increase to Minimum Wage
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training ("MLVT") has recently increased the minimum wage for workers in the textile, garment and footwear sector. From 1 January 2020, employees are entitled to at least 185 USD per month during their probationary period and thereafter, at least 187–190 USD per month.
Implementation of Seniority Back Payments Regime Postponed
In order to relieve the pressures on employers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MLVT has recently issued a notification to postpone the implementation of a seniority indemnity back payments regime. Under this regime, employers would typically be obliged to make an enhanced payment to certain employees, equating to seven and a half days of average wages and other benefits (not including bonuses) calculated over a six-month period (although employees in the non-textile, garment and footwear sectors are entitled to an enhanced payment of three days' average wages and other benefits (not including bonuses) calculated over a six-month period and employees in the garment, textile and footwear sector are entitled to 15 days' average wages and other benefits (not including bonuses) calculated over a six-month period, not exceeding six months' average net wages). In calculating daily average wages, employers must treat one month as 26 working days. Any such payments would ordinarily be made between the 1st and 7th of January and July each year. However, as a result of the recent notification from the MLVT, no such seniority back payments are payable in the ordinary course of business until 2021 (although, if an employer dismisses an employee for reasons other than serious misconduct, the employer will be obliged to pay any seniority back payment or seniority payments required under Cambodian law).
Limitations on Fixed Term Contracts
The MLVT recently enacted an instruction which provides that the duration of an initial fixed-term contract ("FTC") for a local or foreign employee should not exceed two years. The contract may be renewed, provided that the total duration of any such renewals does not exceed an additional two years. If the FTC does exceed these limits, it will automatically be deemed an 'undefined duration contract' (or 'indefinite term contract'). If an employee reaches the maximum duration for a FTC (which is potentially up to four years) and the employer is keen to continue engaging the employee on a fixed-term basis, the employer should provide for a one-month break between the expiration of the existing FTC and the start of any new FTC.
Engagement of Foreign Workers
A new regime has recently come into force which allows employers to submit Khmer-language translations of employment contracts with foreign employees to the MLVT when applying for work permits. Both FTC and undefined duration contracts will now be accepted by the MLVT. Previously, employers were only permitted to submit a FTC contract in the form of an MLVT template when applying for a work permit. Under the new regime, an employer must submit an updated agreement to the MLVT if the contract expires or is amended.