Pursuant to the Labor Law of Cambodia, in particular Article 73, fixed-term employment contract normally ends at the expiry date. However, before the arrival of this expiry date, the employer is required to inform the worker 10 days for the contract having a duration of more than 6 months. This advance notice period is extended to 15 days for contract having duration more than 1 year. Can employer discontinue the fixed-term contract of the pregnant worker upon the expiry of the contract? This text will answer to this question based on my personal view on the laws of Cambodia.
The Constitution of Cambodia of 1993, especially Article 46, paragraph 2, reads:
Termination of woman’s employment because of her pregnancy is prohibited. Woman shall have the rights to take maternity leave with full pay and with no loss of seniority or other social benefits.
According to above provision of the Constitution, termination of pregnant worker at the initiative of the employer is prohibited. However, as mentioned earlier in this text, non-renewal of the fixed-term contract is allowed by Article 73 of the Labor Law. In the point of view that non-renewal of fixed-term contract is different from termination of the fixed-term contract, I personally view that non-renewal of fixed-term contract of the pregnant worker according to the procedure of prior notice of non-renewal in Article 73 of the Labor Law is legal and permitted under the laws of Cambodia.
Although non-renewal of contract of pregnant worker is generally allowed by the laws as discussed above, There might be cases where￼non-renewal of the contract constitutes discrimination against pregnant woman which is prohibited by the Constitution. The Constitution of Cambodia, Article 45, paragraph 1, reads:
All forms of discrimination against women shall be prohibited.
Accordingly, I personally view that if non-renewal of fixed-term contract is only made because of pregnancy without basis on the ground related to worker’s aptitude, capacity, fitness or endurance to working conditions or employer’s operational requirement or necessity, such non-renewal might be a form of discrimination against pregnant woman. Worker who alleges the employer for committing discrimination has the obligation to prove the evidence of discrimination conducted by the employer.
In conclusion, non-renewal of fixed-term contract of pregnant worker is allowed if it is done not just because of pregnancy of the worker.
This text is not legal advice or opinion. Readers may seek comprehensive and formal advice from lawyers.