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Discover everything you need to know about Cambodia

Hire in Cambodia at a glance

Here ares some key facts regarding hiring in Cambodia

Phnom Penh
Cambodian Riel
GDP growth
GDP world share
Payroll frequency
Working hours
48 hours/week

Overview in Cambodia

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Cambodia, located in Southeast Asia, is bordered by Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. It features a tropical climate and a landscape dominated by a central plain, the Tonle Sap, and the Mekong River delta. Historically, the Khmer Empire left a significant legacy, including Angkor Wat, but declined due to various factors. The 19th century saw Cambodia become a French protectorate, gaining independence in 1953. The 1970s were marked by the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, leading to genocide and a prolonged civil war, which ended with the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements.

Modern Cambodia, a constitutional monarchy since 1993, has seen economic growth but still faces challenges like poverty, corruption, and political tensions. The population is predominantly ethnic Khmer and Buddhist, with an economy transitioning from agriculture to industry and services. Significant issues include healthcare, education, environmental degradation, and labor rights.

The workforce is young and primarily rural, with high labor force participation rates, especially among men. Agriculture is the largest employer, followed by the garment sector and construction. The tourism sector, heavily impacted by the pandemic, previously thrived on attractions like Angkor Wat. Communication in the workplace emphasizes harmony and indirect criticism, reflecting hierarchical and paternalistic cultural norms.

Key economic sectors include garment manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture, with emerging sectors like construction, real estate, and technology promising future growth and diversification.

Taxes in Cambodia

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  • Tax Responsibilities: Employers in Cambodia must handle various tax duties including withholding and remitting Tax on Salary (ToS) and Tax on Fringe Benefits (ToFB) for both residents and non-residents, with residents taxed on worldwide income and non-residents on Cambodian-sourced income only.

  • Monthly Prepayment Tax: Employers must pay a monthly prepayment tax of 1% of the company's turnover, which is considered a minimum tax and is offset against the annual income tax liability.

  • Social Security Contributions: Companies with eight or more employees must register with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), contributing 0.8% of each employee's monthly wage for Occupational Risk Compensation, with no employee contribution required.

  • Additional Tax Duties: Employers may need to withhold tax on payments for royalties and rent, and contribute to the Skills Development Fund (SDF) depending on the industry. Detailed records of all transactions must be maintained.

  • Other Deductions: Employees can make voluntary contributions to pension plans and pay union fees, which are deductible from their salaries.

  • VAT and Imported Services: The standard VAT rate in Cambodia is 10%, with certain services exempt. A "reverse charge" mechanism applies to taxable services received from abroad.

  • Tax Incentives: Cambodia offers tax incentives such as income tax holidays and special depreciation allowances through Qualified Investment Projects (QIPs) and operations in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), particularly targeting priority sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and technology.

  • Compliance and Consultation: It's crucial for employers and investors to stay informed through the General Department of Taxation (GDT) and consult tax advisors, especially for complex VAT situations and to understand tax incentives thoroughly.

Leave in Cambodia

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Overview of Vacation Leave in Cambodia:

  • Entitlement: Employees in Cambodia are entitled to 18 working days of paid annual leave per year, accruing at a rate of 1.5 days per month, as per Article 166 of the Labor Law.

  • Eligibility: Employees qualify for vacation leave after one year of continuous service with their employer.

  • Accrual and Usage: Vacation leave accrues throughout the year and cannot be taken in advance. The scheduling of vacations is typically by mutual agreement between employer and employee, considering operational needs and employee preferences.

  • Unused Leave: The law encourages using annual leave but does not specify rules for the accumulation or carryover of unused leave. Compensation for unused leave may be applicable upon termination of employment.

  • Record Keeping: Employers must maintain accurate records of vacation leave accrual and usage.

Public Holidays in Cambodia:

  • Secular Holidays: Include International New Year's Day, Victory Over Genocide Regime Day, International Women's Day, Khmer New Year, Labor Day, Royal Ploughing Ceremony, King's Birthday, Constitution Day, Pchum Ben, Independence Day, and the Water Festival.

  • Religious Holidays: Visak Bochea Day is a significant Buddhist holiday marking the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.

Other Types of Leave:

  • Sick Leave: Paid sick leave is provided with compensation rates varying by the duration of illness and length of service.

  • Maternity Leave: Female employees are entitled to 90 days of paid maternity leave, with compensation at 50% of salary for those with at least one year of service.

  • Special Leave: Up to 15 days of paid leave per year for personal events like marriage or a family member's death.

  • Negotiable Unpaid Leave: Available under certain circumstances through mutual agreement between employer and employee.

Additional Considerations:

  • Collective bargaining agreements may offer more generous vacation entitlements than the statutory minimum.

Benefits in Cambodia

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In Cambodia, labor laws provide a range of mandatory benefits to employees, including paid leave, social security, and other entitlements like severance pay and overtime compensation. Employees are entitled to annual leave, public holidays, sick leave, and maternity leave with specific conditions. The social security scheme covers healthcare, pensions, and unemployment benefits, funded by both employer and employee contributions.

Additionally, employers may offer optional benefits such as health and life insurance, wellness programs, financial aids like housing and transportation allowances, and work-life balance perks including flexible working arrangements and paid time off. Professional development opportunities and employee recognition programs are also common.

Currently, there is no legal requirement for employers to provide health insurance, but a mandatory health insurance scheme is under development, which aims to enhance healthcare coverage for employees. The retirement landscape is also evolving with the recent introduction of the NSSF pension scheme, requiring contributions from both employers and employees, with future adjustments expected to ensure adequate retirement security.

Workers Rights in Cambodia

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Cambodia's labor laws provide a structured approach to employment termination, detailing lawful grounds for dismissal, notice requirements, and severance pay entitlements. Employers can terminate employment contracts for reasons such as unsatisfactory performance, serious misconduct, or economic reasons, with specific notice periods based on the contract type and employee's tenure. Severance pay is mandated for dismissals due to economic reasons under fixed-duration contracts, but not for dismissals due to serious faults.

Additionally, Cambodian labor laws protect against discrimination based on race, gender, religion, political affiliation, disability, and HIV/AIDS status. Victims of workplace discrimination can seek redress through the Ministry of Labor, the Arbitration Council, or the judicial system. Employers are responsible for implementing anti-discrimination policies, providing training, and promoting diversity.

The laws also regulate working hours, rest periods, and ergonomic standards to ensure worker safety and health. Employers must comply with safety regulations, conduct risk assessments, and provide a safe working environment. Employees have rights to a safe workplace, necessary information and training, and can refuse unsafe work. Enforcement of these regulations is carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training through inspections and penalties for non-compliance.

Agreements in Cambodia

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In Cambodia, employment contracts are categorized into Fixed-Duration Contracts (FDCs) and Undetermined-Duration Contracts (UDCs), as outlined in the Labor Law. FDCs have a maximum duration of two years and can be renewed without exceeding this limit, while UDCs offer ongoing employment without a predetermined end date, providing greater job security.

Employment agreements must clearly identify the parties involved, the type of contract, job description, workplace, compensation, benefits, working hours, overtime regulations, and leave policies. They should also address intellectual property rights, termination clauses, and include a probationary period which varies in length depending on the contract type.

Additionally, employment agreements may feature confidentiality and non-compete clauses. Confidentiality clauses are used to protect business secrets and are likely enforceable in Cambodia, though not explicitly regulated by labor law. Non-compete clauses, however, face uncertain enforceability due to the lack of specific legal guidance, making alternatives like non-solicitation or non-disclosure clauses potentially more viable for protecting business interests.

Remote Work in Cambodia

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Overview of Remote Work in Cambodia (Praeng Booch)

Cambodia's exploration of remote work is emerging, with no specific legal regulations yet in place. The existing Labor Law provides a general framework, but specific guidelines for remote work are lacking. The government is interested in promoting remote work, recognizing its economic benefits.

Legal Framework

The Labor Law does not specifically address remote work, leaving room for employers to define terms through written agreements. These should cover work hours, communication expectations, and performance evaluations.

Technological Infrastructure

Challenges include reliable internet access and a digital literacy gap. Both employers and employees need to develop digital skills and cybersecurity awareness.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers must comply with the Labor Law's general provisions on wages, working hours, and vacation time, even in remote settings. There is no obligation to provide equipment or cover expenses, but doing so could facilitate remote work.

Government Initiatives and Future Considerations

The government's promotion of remote work could lead to future legal frameworks that provide clearer guidelines on remote work practices.

Flexible Work Arrangements

  • Part-Time Work: Allows less than the standard 48-hour workweek, with benefits prorated.
  • Flextime: Not specifically regulated, but employers can create policies that comply with the standard workweek and wage requirements.
  • Job Sharing: Also not specifically regulated, requiring clear contracts that adhere to employment laws.

Equipment and Expense Reimbursements

While not mandated, employers may choose to provide necessary equipment and cover some expenses to support flexible work arrangements.

Data Protection and Security

With no specific data protection law yet, employers must cautiously handle employee data, adhering to international best practices until local regulations are established. Employers should ensure data security through encrypted communications, access controls, and employee training on data handling.


Cambodia's remote work landscape is developing, with potential benefits and challenges. Employers and employees must navigate the current legal and technological environments carefully, preparing for future regulations that could more specifically address remote work.

Working Hours in Cambodia

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  • Cambodian Labor Law Overview: The Law on Labor Relations sets the standard working hours at 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week, with a maximum of 10 hours including 2 hours of overtime. Overtime requires employee consent and Ministry of Labor approval, compensated at 150% on weekdays and 200% on Sundays and public holidays.

  • Work Schedules and Breaks: Employers can set specific work hours within legal limits, including a mandatory one-hour lunch break for those working 8 consecutive hours. Employees are entitled to at least one full day of rest per week, typically on Sunday, with provisions to accommodate business or public service needs.

  • Night and Weekend Work: Night work, defined as 11 consecutive hours including 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, is paid at 130% of the regular wage, with 200% for overtime. Employers must provide accommodation or transport for night workers. Children under 18 are prohibited from night work. Weekend work must respect the 24-hour rest rule, with premium pay for any overtime.

Salary in Cambodia

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Understanding and managing market competitive salaries in Cambodia is essential for both employers and employees. Employers need to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain talent, while employees must ensure they are compensated fairly for their skills and experience.

Factors Influencing Salaries in Cambodia:

  • Industry: Salary levels vary by industry, with higher wages typically in executive, IT, and managerial roles.
  • Experience and Skills: More experience and specialized skills generally lead to higher pay.
  • Education: Higher educational qualifications can increase salary potential.
  • Location: Urban areas like Phnom Penh often have higher salaries compared to rural regions.
  • Company Size and Reputation: Larger and more established companies usually offer better pay and benefits.

Sources for Salary Information:

  • Salary Surveys: Provide insights into compensation trends across different industries and roles.
  • Job Boards: List job openings with salary ranges, offering a general idea of what employers are willing to pay.
  • Networking: Engaging with industry peers and recruiters can help gauge what a competitive salary looks like in specific fields.

Minimum Wage Regulations:

  • Set by the Labour Advisory Committee and outlined in the Labour Law of 1997, the minimum wage considers social and economic factors to ensure it meets basic needs while being economically sustainable. As of January 1, 2024, the minimum wage for regular workers is $204 per month, and for probationary workers, it's $202 per month.

Additional Financial Considerations:

  • Bonuses: Many companies offer a 13th-month pay and performance-based bonuses.
  • Allowances: These can include overtime pay, transportation, meals, housing, and other industry-specific allowances.

Payroll Practices:

  • Salaries are typically paid monthly, with laborers paid at least every 16 days. Payment methods are evolving from cash to electronic transfers for increased security and transparency.

Overall, a comprehensive understanding of these factors and practices helps ensure fair and competitive compensation in Cambodia's job market.

Termination in Cambodia

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In Cambodia, employment termination and notice periods are governed by the Cambodian Labor Law, with specific articles addressing different types of contracts and severance pay entitlements.

Notice Periods:

  • Fixed Duration Contracts (FDC): No notice is required for contracts of 6 months or less. For contracts over 6 months to 1 year, a 10-day notice is needed, and for those over 1 year, a 15-day notice is required.
  • Indefinite Duration Contracts (IDC): Notice periods vary by length of service, ranging from 7 days for less than 6 months of service to 3 months for more than 10 years of service.

Severance Pay:

  • FDC: Employees are entitled to a minimum of 5% of the total wages received during the contract upon expiration or lawful termination.
  • Unlimited Duration Contracts (UDC): Severance pay is calculated based on the length of service, with specific amounts outlined for different durations.

Termination Procedures:

  • FDC: These contracts expire naturally; early termination requires mutual agreement or lawful reasons.
  • UDC: Employers must observe notice periods and may need valid justification for termination.

Additional Rights and Considerations:

  • Employees are entitled to paid leave during the notice period for job searching.
  • Severance includes regular wages and benefits, and there is no cap on severance pay following a 2018 amendment.

Legal Framework:

  • The Cambodian Labor Law (1997) is the primary source, supplemented by specific Ministerial Decrees (Prakas) for detailed regulations.

Dispute Resolution:

  • Employment disputes can escalate from mediation to arbitration and potentially to labor courts, with Collective Bargaining Agreements providing additional guidelines.

Freelancing in Cambodia

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In Cambodia, the Labour Law distinguishes between employees and independent contractors, each with different rights and responsibilities. Employees are under the supervision of their employers and are entitled to benefits like minimum wage, paid leave, and social security. Independent contractors, on the other hand, operate under service contracts with more autonomy and are responsible for their own taxes and social security contributions.

The law emphasizes "direction and supervision" to differentiate between the two, but classification can be complex and misclassification may lead to legal and financial consequences. Independent contractors should ensure their contracts are comprehensive, covering scope of work, payment terms, and other essential details. They often work in sectors like IT, marketing, and education.

For intellectual property (IP), the default rule in Cambodia is that the creator owns the IP unless otherwise agreed in a contract. Freelancers can manage IP rights through specific contractual terms, such as "work made for hire" clauses or licenses.

Tax obligations for freelancers include withholding tax and income tax, with specific rates depending on residency status. VAT registration may be necessary if income exceeds certain thresholds. Additionally, freelancers are advised to consider private insurance options to cover health, accidents, or professional liability.

Health & Safety in Cambodia

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The Labour Law of 1997 in Cambodia establishes the framework for workplace health and safety, detailing employer responsibilities and employee rights. Employers are required to maintain a safe working environment, provide necessary personal protective equipment, and ensure proper training and safety measures. Employees have rights to refuse unsafe work and receive compensation for work-related injuries through the National Social Security Fund.

Additional regulations are specified in various Prakas issued by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, covering specific areas like the use of personal protective equipment and safety in machinery operation. Enforcement of these laws is managed by the Ministry through inspections and penalties for non-compliance.

Challenges in enforcement include the informal work sector, limited capacity of labor inspectors, and low awareness of safety standards among workers and employers. The legal framework is supported by other regulations such as Sub-Decree No.37 on hazardous substances and protocols for workplace accident reporting and compensation.

Dispute Resolution in Cambodia

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Labor courts in Cambodia, established under the 1997 Labour Law, handle individual labor disputes including issues like employment termination and discrimination. The Arbitration Council, also created by the 1997 law, deals with collective labor disputes and issues in essential industries, offering a process that typically ends in binding arbitration awards.

Labor and other compliance audits are crucial in Cambodia, assessing adherence to labor, social, environmental, and financial regulations. These audits are conducted by government bodies like the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and independent auditors, often required more frequently for high-risk sectors or companies with a history of non-compliance.

Whistleblower protections in Cambodia, governed by the 2010 Anti-Corruption Law, are focused on corruption-related reporting but are limited in scope and practical enforcement. Whistleblowers face significant risks, and the protections offered are not robust in practice.

Cambodia's labor laws reflect its commitment to international labor standards as a member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), incorporating principles from all eight fundamental ILO conventions into domestic legislation. This includes provisions for freedom of association, the elimination of forced and child labor, non-discrimination in employment, and workplace health and safety, although these are not always as rigorous as international standards.

Cultural Considerations in Cambodia

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In Cambodia, communication and negotiation in the professional environment are deeply influenced by cultural norms that emphasize indirectness, formality, and respect for hierarchy. Key points include:

  • Indirect Communication: Cambodians prefer subtle, non-confrontational communication styles, particularly in hierarchical settings, to maintain harmony and respect.

  • Formality and Respect: High levels of formality are maintained in both verbal and written communications, with a strong emphasis on using titles and honorifics.

  • Non-Verbal Cues: Body language, facial expressions, and silence are crucial in conveying respect and disagreement without direct confrontation.

  • Building Relationships: Trust and personal connections are prioritized over aggressive negotiation tactics, with a focus on long-term relationships and consensus building.

  • Hierarchy and Decision-Making: A clear hierarchical structure dominates, with decision-making authority concentrated at the top. This reflects a high power distance and influences team dynamics and leadership styles, which are often paternalistic.

  • Cultural and Statutory Observances: Understanding and respecting national and local holidays like Choul Chnam Thmey (Cambodian New Year) and Pchum Ben (Ancestor Day) is essential for businesses to operate effectively and respectfully.

Adapting to these cultural nuances is crucial for expatriates and foreign businesses to succeed in Cambodia.

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