Labor and Employment Law: Probationary Period

The 1997 Labor Law of Cambodia, article 68, provides that a contract for a probationary period cannot be for longer than the amount of time needed for the employer to judge the professional worth of the worker and for the worker to know concretely the working conditions provided. However, the probationary period cannot last longer than three months for regular employees, two months for specialized workers and one month for non-specialized workers.

Based on this article 68, the parties may agree on employment relation on probation for a certain period as defined above before continuing their employment relation under the fixed-duration or undetermined duration contract. Consequently, the employment relation during the probationary period is fragile because employer or worker may terminate their relation during this period or may not continue their relation after the expiry of this period.

Parties may either enter into a probationary contract independently or include terms of agreement on the probationary period as part of their employment contract. In the event that there is no conclusion of probationary contract or a contract does not explicitly state the term of agreement on probationary period, it is considered that the relation is not subject to probation but it is a permanent employment relation.

Can an employer or worker alone terminate the probationary contract before its expiry? The Arbitration Council has ruled that the probationary contract is a fixed-duration contract because such contract has duration limited to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months (case 75/07). Therefore, the rules applicable to the fixed-duration contract also apply to probationary contract or employment relation during probationary period. That means either employer or worker cannot terminate probationary contract before the expiry date, unless there is agree of both parties in writing before the labor inspector, in the event of serious misconduct of either party or act of God. (Article 73)

 The use of rules governing fixed-duration contract in the case of probationary contract seems incompatible with the system of probationary period or probationary contract. For example, Article 82 of the Labor Law provides that the contracting parties are released from the obligation of giving prior notice under the case for probation or an internship specified in the contract.Furthermore, although the rule of fixed duration can delay the termination of employment until the expiry date of probationary period, employer or worker still can cease their employment relation upon the expiry of probationary period.

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