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UPDATE: Front page story in the Post today, draft has been released ahead of public consultations in January. 17/12/10

A recent Cambodia Daily article (off-line only) reports on the long-anticipated NGO Law, currently being drafted by the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs. The article is based on a presentation given in mid-August of this year, so things might have changed since then. According to the presentation, NGOs would need to report to the government on their activities, list their staff members and responsibilities, and disclose their funding sources. Without seeing the draft itself, it’s hard to say what’s new here – as NGOs presently have certain reporting and disclosure obligations.

The draft reportedly will also prohibit any financial or personnel assistance to parties, which is likely to be the most contentious issue.

The government has kept a fairly tight-lid on the draft, but has promised to release it to NGOs for comment ahead of a public workshop, to be held as early as next month. Therefore if you are considering commencing the process to set up an NGO in Cambodia, it may be wise to delay the process as there may be more certainty about the legal framework by early next year.

As the new Inter-Country Adoption Law is to be implemented in early 2011, many potential parents are wondering how it will affect them. One major change from the former adoption practice is that all inter-country adoptions must now be handled by authorized agencies. Unauthorized private companies and orphanages can no longer handle inter-country adoptions directly.

The Cambodian government has already begun to accept applications for inter-country adoption agencies. For more information on how to register as an inter-country adoption agency, please refer to this publication.

A common question that has arisen is ‘what about expats in Cambodia looking to adopt?’ They, too, are required to adopt through an inter-country adoption agency. For the agencies that open abroad, they are required to have a representative office in Cambodia. The expats in Cambodia will then apply with their home country’s office.

The use of inter-country agencies will surely cause the adoption process in Cambodia to take longer and be more expensive. However, it will also ensure that both parents and agencies are thoroughly screened and closely monitored to prevent child-trafficking. After all, the most important interests to look after are those of the children.

The Cambodian labor law sets out two types of contracts: fixed duration and unspecified duration. The difference is relatively simple, but matters greatly on a number of issues – particularly the way in which the contract may be terminated (more on that in a future post, and in our recent guide).

A fixed duration contract requires three things:

–          A written contract

–          Precise commencement and termination dates

–          A duration, including any renewals, of less than two years

If any of these three points is missing, it’s automatically an unspecified duration contract. The real catch here is the two-year limit. Many employers mistakenly keep having their employees sign one-year renewals, believing they’re still on a fixed duration.

Well, after the employee hits the two-year mark, the law automatically considers it of unspecified duration. The contract might specify certain things about notice and termination, but if it ever came to a dispute over these provisions, a court would likely throw them out and replace them with the labor law rules.

Employers just need to be aware of when employees hit the two-year mark, and have them sign a contract of unspecified duration.


The work of a handful of attorneys at BNG Legal, this blog's mission is to keep the world up-to-date on legal issues in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

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