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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Cambodia


In Cambodia, labor laws provide a comprehensive framework for the lawful termination of employment contracts. This includes understanding the grounds for dismissal, notice requirements, and severance pay entitlements, which are crucial for both employers and employees.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

The Cambodian Labour Law outlines specific reasons that justify the termination of an employment contract:

Dismissal for Cause (With Notice)

An employer may terminate an employment contract for the following reasons, provided that the employee is given appropriate notice:

  • Unsatisfactory Performance: Persistent unsatisfactory work performance after warnings and a chance for improvement.
  • Disciplinary Reasons: Serious misconduct, such as insubordination, repeated negligence, or breach of contractual obligations.
  • Economic or Operational Reasons: Restructuring, downsizing, or similar economic circumstances affecting the business.

Dismissal for Serious Fault (Without Notice)

In cases of serious misconduct by the employee, an employer may terminate the contract without any notice period:

  • Acts of Violence or Serious Insubordination: Physical or verbal assault, threats, or gross insubordination.
  • Fraud, Theft, or Intentional Damage: Dishonestly obtaining company property, intentional sabotage, or similar acts.
  • Repeated Absence or Unauthorized Leave: Frequent absences without valid reason or unauthorized leave exceeding a certain period.

Notice Requirements

The required notice period for termination depends on the type of employment contract and the reason for dismissal:

  • Fixed-Duration Contracts (FDC): Notice must be given at least equal to the pay period. For example, weekly pay periods require one week's notice.
  • Indefinite-Duration Contracts (UDC): Longer notice periods apply and are based on seniority:
    • Less than 6 months of service: 7 days' notice.
    • 6 months to 2 years of service: 15 days' notice.
    • 2 to 5 years of service: 1 month's notice.
    • 5 to 10 years of service: 2 months' notice.
    • Over 10 years of service: 3 months' notice.

Severance Pay

Employees dismissed for economic or operational reasons under a fixed-duration contract are entitled to severance pay. The calculation is based on 5% of the total wages received during the contract period.

Important Note: In cases of dismissal for serious fault, employees are not entitled to notice periods or severance pay.

Employers in Cambodia must adhere to these regulations to ensure compliance with labor laws and protect the rights of employees during the termination process.


Cambodia's Constitution and labor laws provide a framework to combat discrimination and strive for equality within the workplace. Understanding these protections and the responsibilities placed upon employers is crucial in fostering a fair and inclusive work environment.

Protected Characteristics

Cambodian anti-discrimination laws protect individuals from discrimination on the following grounds:

  • Race, Color, and Ancestry: Discrimination based on a person's race, skin color, descent, or national origin is strictly prohibited.
  • Gender and Sex: The Constitution enshrines equal rights for men and women, while the Labor Law specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment.
  • Religion: Freedom of religion and belief is a fundamental right, barring discrimination based on an individual's religious affiliation.
  • Political Affiliation: The Labor Law protects employees from discrimination based on their political opinions or affiliation.
  • Disability: The Law on the Protection and the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities outlaws all forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
  • HIV/AIDS Status: Discrimination based on a person's real or perceived HIV status is unlawful.

Redress Mechanisms

Victims of discrimination in Cambodia have several avenues for seeking redress and holding perpetrators accountable:

  • Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training: Employees experiencing workplace discrimination can file complaints with the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry has the power to investigate and mediate disputes.
  • Arbitration Council: For labor disputes, including those involving discrimination, employees can seek resolution through the Arbitration Council of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
  • Judicial System: Individuals can pursue legal action in the courts to seek remedies for discrimination, including compensation or reinstatement if unfairly dismissed.

Employer Responsibilities

Cambodian employers play a crucial role in combating workplace discrimination. Key responsibilities include:

  • Anti-Discrimination Policy: Developing and consistently implementing a clear company policy outlining a commitment to non-discrimination and a zero-tolerance approach to discriminatory behavior.
  • Training and Awareness: Providing regular training to employees and managers on anti-discrimination laws, recognizing prohibited behaviors, and building an inclusive work culture.
  • Grievance Procedures: Establishing and publicizing accessible grievance procedures for employees to report discrimination incidents, ensuring prompt and impartial investigations.
  • Promoting Diversity: Taking proactive steps to promote diversity and inclusion in recruitment, hiring, promotions, and career development opportunities.

Working conditions

Cambodia's Labor Law outlines regulations aimed at ensuring fair working conditions for its workforce. These regulations cover aspects such as working hours, rest periods, and ergonomic standards.

Working Hours

Cambodia sets limitations on working hours to ensure workers have adequate rest and prevent overwork:

  • Standard Workweek: The standard workweek in Cambodia is 48 hours, usually spread across six days.
  • Maximum Daily Hours: Generally, employees cannot work more than 8 hours per day.
  • Overtime Regulations: Overtime work is permitted but regulated. It cannot exceed 2 hours per day and must be compensated at higher rates.

Rest Periods

Cambodian workers are entitled to rest periods to ensure optimal performance and reduce fatigue:

  • Weekly Rest: Employees must have at least one full day (24 hours) off per week, typically on Sunday.
  • Daily Breaks: The law mandates daily rest breaks, though the specific duration may vary depending on industry and workload.
  • Public Holidays: Cambodia observes numerous annual public holidays, granting workers paid time off.

Ergonomic Requirements

While Cambodia doesn't have extensively detailed ergonomic regulations, the Labor Law places a general obligation on employers to ensure workplace safety and health. This includes taking measures to:

  • Prevent Work-Related Injuries: Implement measures within reason to minimize the risk of work-related accidents and injuries, potentially including ergonomic considerations depending on the industry.
  • Promote Safety and Health: Provide a work environment that promotes the general safety, health, and well-being of employees.

Sector-specific regulations or collective bargaining agreements might provide more detailed stipulations regarding working conditions and ergonomics.

Health and safety

Cambodia prioritizes worker well-being through a framework outlined in the Labour Law (2014). This guide explores key aspects of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) regulations in Cambodia, encompassing employer obligations, employee rights, and the enforcement mechanisms in place.

Employer Obligations

Cambodian employers hold significant responsibility for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. Here are some core obligations mandated by the Labour Law:

  • Compliance: Employers must adhere to all health and safety regulations established by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT).
  • Risk Assessments: Employers are required to conduct periodic risk assessments to identify potential hazards within the workplace. These assessments should be documented and reviewed periodically.
  • Preventive Measures: Based on the risk assessments, employers must implement preventive measures to mitigate identified hazards. This may involve providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), establishing safe work procedures, and offering safety training to employees.
  • Safe Work Environment: Employers have a responsibility to maintain a work environment that is free from foreseeable risks to employee health and safety. This includes ensuring proper ventilation, sanitation, and lighting.
  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Employers are obligated to report all workplace accidents and illnesses to the MLVT and conduct investigations to prevent future occurrences.

Employee Rights

Cambodian employees are not merely passive recipients of safety measures. The Labour Law grants them crucial rights in relation to occupational safety and health:

  • Safe Work Environment: Employees have the fundamental right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Information and Training: Employees hold the right to be informed about potential hazards associated with their work and receive proper training on safe work practices in a language they understand.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees have the right to refuse work that they reasonably believe presents an imminent danger to their health or safety. This right should be exercised responsibly and reported to the appropriate authorities.

Enforcement Agencies

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT) is the primary agency responsible for enforcing workplace safety and health regulations in Cambodia. The MLVT has Labor Inspectors who perform the following functions:

  • Conduct workplace inspections to identify safety hazards and non-compliance issues.
  • Issue citations and impose penalties on employers who violate OSH regulations.
  • Order employers to rectify identified hazards to ensure worker safety.
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