Key Features of Cambodia Labor Law

What are the key features or characteristics of the Cambodia Labor Law? This article will answer to this questions.

Students and people who are interested in the Labor Law should read this text to understand these features which will help them understand more the Cambodia Labor Law.

1. The Labor Law is not the Labor Code

The first feature of the Labor Law we need to be aware of is that the Labor Law is not the Labor Code of Cambodia. What does Labor Code mean? Labor Code means the codification of laws and regulations governing the labor and employment relations in Cambodia.

Historically speaking, Cambodia had its first Labor Code in 1972 adopted during the regime of Khmer Republic (1970 to 1975). Thereafter, during the regime of Democratic of Kampuchea better known as Pol Pot regime (1975 to 1979), the Code was not put into practice. After the collapse of Pol Pot Regime in 1979, Cambodia adopted its second Labor Code in 1992 during the regime of the State of Cambodia (1989 to 1993). The adoption of the present Constitution of Cambodia in 1993 led to the adoption of the Labor Law in 1997 to govern the employment and labor relations in compliance with free market economy system and the constitutional rights of workers enshrined and provided by the said Constitution.

The decision of the lawmakers to name the new employment and labor laws as “Labor Law” might be based on the purpose or expectation that laws governing employment and labor relations will not be limited to the Labor Law, and that there will be other laws in the future in order to cope with the rapid and flexible growth and development of the labor markets and nature of employment and labor relations in Cambodia.

This is evident by the fact that after the adoption and promulgation of the Labor Law in 1997, the Law on National Social Security Schemes for Persons Defined by the Provisions of the Labor Law was promulgated in 2002 (This Law was later replaced by the Law on Social Security Schemes which was adopted on 08 October 2019). Thereafter, the Law on Trade Unions was promulgated in 2016 and the Law on Minimum Wage was promulgated in 2018.

Hence, we can conclude that the Labor Law is not the Labor Code to the extent that there are several other laws adopted and (might be adopted in the future) in order to govern the employment and labor relations in Cambodia.

Despite above assumption that Labor Law is not the Labor Code of Cambodia, we cannot deny the fact that comparatively the Labor Law is the fundamental law or the source of law upon which other laws, namely Law on Trade Unions and the Law on Minimum Wage were adopted. If we carefully review these two laws, we can say that several provisions stipulated in both laws are the addition, modification, revision and clarification to provisions of the Labor Law.

2. Provisions of the Labor law are public orders.

The second feature of the Labor Law of Cambodia is that in general the provisions of the Labor Law are of the nature of public orders. Employment and labor relations are contractual relations in which the workers are treated and considered socially and economically inferior to the employers. To avoid unfair contractual terms or working conditions which are unilaterally decided by the employer, the provisions Labor Law provide the minimum standard rules which are of the nature of public orders.

Accordingly, both employer and worker cannot enter into the contract or agree to the contractual clauses or working conditions that provide benefits to the worker to be less than the benefits provided by the provisions of the Labor Law. (Article 13) This reflects how provisions of the Labor Law with the nature of public orders limit the principle of the private autonomy or the freedom of contract where the parties have freedom to decide the terms and conditions of their contracts.

In consideration to the enhancement of the workers’ rights and benefits, the employer and workers are allowed to conclude the contract or agree to the terms and conditions that provide benefits to the workers than those provided under the Labor Law.

3. Labor Law governs individual employment relations and collective labor relations.

The third feature of the Labor Law is that the Labor Law governs both individual employment relation and collective labor relation. Individual employment relation refers to the relationship between an employer and one or more employees on a case-by-case basis and relates to the rights and obligations set forth in the employment contract, internal regulations of the enterprise, collective agreements or provisions of the Labor Law.

Collective labor relation is labor relation between one or more employers with some of  workers or group of workers, or an internal relationship between and among the employers, or an internal relationship between and among the workers which related to the rights and obligations of the parties under the laws, future interest or benefit of the workers, workers’ representatives, professional organizations such as employers’ associations and trade unions, collective bargaining, collective agreements, strikes and lockouts. With the adoption of Law on Trade Unions, several aspects of the collective labor relation are now not governed by the Labor Law. 

4. Labor law is private and public law:

The fourth feature of the Labor Law is that the Labor Law is both private and public law. Under the Labor Law, if a provision is of nature of private law, the party whose rights have been violated must take action on their own by seeking a means of settlement of disputes in court or the competent authority to resolve disputes. For example, Article 74 and Article 75 of the Labor Law are of the nature of private law. Article 74 deals with the requirement that employer provides prior notice of dismissal to the worker and presents a valid reason for dismissal. Article 75 regulates the minimum period of prior notice of contract termination.

If provisions of the Labor Law are of nature of public or administrative law, there will be intervention or involvement of labor inspector or labor controller to oversee the implementation of provisions of the Labor Law and impose penalties on those who violate them.

For example, Article 359 of the Labor Law provides that those guilty of violating the provisions of the articles in Chapter XVI of the Labor Law must be fined or imprisoned or both. Such mechanism is in addition to the actions to be taken by the party whose rights have been violated or infringed by the other party.

Article 113 (direct payment of wage), Article 114 (prohibition of employer’s restricting the freedom of workers to using his or her wage), Article 115 (place and form of wage), and Article 116 (frequency of wage payment in a month) are provisions with nature of public or administrative law.

Article 365 of the Labor Law provides that without prejudice to any civil liability, those guilty of violating the provisions of articles 113, 114, 155 and 116 are liable to a fine of 31 to 60 days of the base daily wage.

In conclusion, one of the effective ways to read and understand the Labor Law of Cambodia is to understand its key features. This text only highlights a few of the features. Other features of the Labor Law will be discussed later.

Categories Employment and Labor Laws

6 thoughts on “Key Features of Cambodia Labor Law

  1. The article is helpful.

    1. Thank you, Bong, for your reading and comments.

  2. Thanks prof for your article.

    Can you elaborate more about pension fund and sonority payment? When can pension apply and as well as seniority payment?

    Best regards,
    Sochea

    1. Thank you, Bong Sokchea, for your good questions. Your questions have been noted and will be discussed in later post. I would be grateful if you could detail the practice and nature of pension fund you refer to.

      1. Thanks Prof.

        Any topic related senior ity and pension fund would be valuable to my knowledge as I’m lacking on that.

  3. Thank you. I used to write a short article on seniority payment. You can check for it. I plan to write more in the later post.

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