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Compliance with the Labor Law is not on many organizations’ radar screens, until something goes wrong. A worker is fired, a disgruntled employee sues, or a government labor inspector arrives to check your paperwork, and all of a sudden the Labor Law matters, A LOT.

If you think this law doesn’t apply to you – you’re probably wrong. It governs all employer-employee relations resulting from contracts to be performed in Cambodia, regardless of where they were signed, or the nationality or residence of the parties. That’s really broad – though there are a few narrow exceptions (household servants, civil servants…) which don’t apply to most organizations.

In no particular order, here’s my best guess at the eight most frequently violated rules:

  1. Do you give your departing employees severance pay? According to Article 73, when a fixed duration contract ends, the employee gets an additional 5% of the TOTAL salary over the length of the ENTIRE contract, unless contracted otherwise.
  2. Are you reporting every hiring and dismissal to the Labor Inspector? You need to, within fifteen days of the event, according to Article 21.
  3. Have your human resource regulations been approved by the Labor Inspector? If you have more than seven workers, you need to have a comprehensive policy, approved by the Inspector (Article 24)
  4. Do you give equal pay for equal work? Regardless of nationality, sex, or age? For work of equal conditions, professional skill and output, you must pay all workers the same, see Article 105.
  5. Do you pay overtime for any work over eight hours a day? Overtime must be paid at 150% of normal wages, or 200% if done at night or during the weekend, according to Articles 137 and 139.
  6. Do more senior employees get more annual leave? According to article 166, annual leave is increased one day per month for each three years of service. For a 10-year veteran, that works out to a four-day workweek.
  7. Do you pay salary for paid-leave BEFORE the employee goes on vacation? That’s what Article 168 requires.
  8. Are you reporting all vacancies and job postings to the Placement Office of the Ministry of Labor? You’re required to do so, according to article 258.

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, you’re risking problems should trouble come to your door. A review of your employment contracts and HR policies is a pro-active way to get in front of the issue. You might not be able to avoid all problems, but at least you can control the damage.

Looking for a Cambodian law or regulation? Finding publicly available resources, particularly online or in English, can be tricky. To the best of our knowledge, there is no up-to-date and complete database freely accessible. Below is a short round-up of the resources we’ve been able to find – none are perfect.

If there is a specific law or regulation you know to exist, and just need a copy, you might be able to find it on one of the sites below (though there’s little guarantee as to the accuracy of the text).

However, if you are trying to answer a legal question on your own and don’t know the specific law you’re looking for,  we would strongly caution against relying on these online resources. You might find one or two laws on the topic, but as these resources are merely a selection of what is actually the law of the land, there’s a good chance that there are other texts you’re missing. That can create a false sense of security, and set you up for real trouble should a problem arise.

So except for very basic questions where you already know which law to rely on, the Do-It-Yourself route is ill-advised. Reputable Cambodian law firms should all have a complete database of laws, regularly updated as laws come into effect. Best to ask a professional.

  • http://www.gocambodia.com/laws/ – Despite being the #1 Google hit when searching for “Cambodian Law”, this site has a small and seemingly random collection of laws. What’s worse, at least a  couple of laws (we just checked the Labor Law and Insurance Law) are missing a large portion of the provisions. It seems the texts were just cut off, leaving out all the articles after that point. Best to steer clear.
  • http://cambodia.ohchr.org/klc_pages/klc_english.htm – Put out by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, this compilation is current through 2005. They’ve only collected “those laws and other legal instruments that are most relevant to day-to-day practice in the administration of justice and institutional development”. Khmer only.
  • http://portail.droit.francophonie.org/df-web/collection.do?databaseId=282 – This French site has a small collection, all in French, but ends in 1998.
  • http://daracambodia.blogspot.com – This is an interesting and well-intentioned effort by a Professor at Panassastra University to publish laws online. There are a fair number of laws and regulations, mostly in Khmer. Last updated in 2010.
  • http://www.bakc.org.kh/ – The Bar Association of Cambodia’s website has a fairly complete set of khmer-only texts.
  • http://www.bnglaw.net/index.php – This is one of the most complete online databases, though access is restricted. Most of the important laws and regulations are in English, the rest are in Khmer.

There are a few other sites out there, though they seem even less complete than these. Post us a comment if you come across any others you’d like to recommend.

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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.

Questions and feedback can be emailed directly to us at info@bnglegal.com.

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