The 1997 Labour Law, previously amended in 2007 and 2018, was amended for the third time on 5 October 2021 with immediate effect (“Amended Labour Law”).
The Amended Labour Law introduces several changes to the 1997 Labour Law, particularly provisions relating to employee working schedules, work on paid public holidays, individual disputes and the authority of the Labour Inspector. These include:
New Article 138: this new provision provides clearer rules on working shifts. Work schedules are to be determined by each enterprise for different jobs based on the nature of their activities and arrangements, whereby they can conduct more than one shift per day.
Where an enterprise operates three shifts, the enterprise can divide the work schedule into morning, afternoon and night shifts. The hours of each shift shall not exceed a worker’s maximum working hours per day (i.e. eight hours), as stated in Article 137 of the Labour Law. The enterprises can also divide the work schedule of each shift into two separate sessions.
The old Article 138, on the other hand, provided that when the work schedule consisted of split shifts, the enterprise’s management could normally only set up two sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
New Article 162: under this new provision, work performed on paid public holidays must be under the supervision of the Labour Inspector. The formalities and legal procedures for working on paid public holidays will be determined by a Prakas from the Minister of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (“MLVT”).
Importantly, this new Article 162 removes workers’ days off in lieu when the public holiday falls on a Sunday. Under the old Article 162, if a public holiday fell on a Sunday, workers would have the following day off in lieu. However, under new Article 162, workers are no longer entitled to such a day off in lieu.
To-date, there has been no specific requirement to obtain approval from the MLVT for work performed on a public holiday. Nonetheless, under the MLVT’s new online system, there is a function where the company can apply for approval for work on such a public holiday in a similar manner as work performed on the weekly day off and the MLVT expects employers to undertake such approval process.
We expect that an implementing Prakas will be issued subsequently to address the formalities and procedures of work performed on paid public holidays.
New Article 300: this expands the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Council, which previously only had jurisdiction over collective labour disputes in Cambodia, to also resolve individual labour disputes. In an individual labour dispute, parties to the dispute may file a complaint to the competent Labour Inspector to seek conciliation. In the case of non-conciliation, the concerned party may file a complaint to the Labour Court or the Arbitration Council according to the Prakas of the Minister of the MLVT.
The old Article 300 only provided that, prior to any judicial action, an individual dispute could be referred for preliminary conciliation, at the initiative of one of the parties, to the Labor Inspector of his or her province or municipality.
While the Amended Labour Law has immediate effect, the formalities and procedures for the filing and hearing of individual disputes at the Arbitration Council are yet to be determined. We expect a new Prakas to be issued in due course by the MLVT to further clarify these matters.
New Article 343: this new provision empowers the Labour Inspector as a judicial police officer tasked with examining offenses as stated in the Labour Law in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure. These formalities and legal procedures will be determined by a forthcoming Inter-Ministerial Prakas between the Minister of the Ministry of Justice and the Minister of the MLVT.
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