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Three-day leave for workers to vote in July 23 election

Authorities have ordered private businesses and employers to allow their staff a paid three-day leave to go to their home provinces and vote in the upcoming National Election.

Cambodia is gearing up for the National Election scheduled to be held on July 23, with 18 political parties competing for the National Assembly’s .125 seats

Addressing a crowd of factory workers in Kampong Speu province’s Kong Pisey district yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said that granting leave to workers is very crucial as the citizens have to perform their democratic rights.

“On July 23, everyone, including the workers and employers will be voting. It is an obligation of the citizens. Whichever party they vote for or whether they will cast their votes is a different story,” the Premier added.

Separately, Mr Hun Sen also called on employers, especially owners and managers of factories, to allow pregnant workers to leave 15 minutes earlier from work to ensure their wellbeing as well as the unborn babies.

Mr Hun Sen, who knew about the hardships his pregnant wife had endured during the Khmer Rouge regime, said it is risky for pregnant women to work the same schedule as normal workers.

“Some people think pregnancy is a small thing but their health is very important for the family and society,” he said.

On Saturday, Chhuon Cham, Secretary of State at the Council of Ministers, issued a letter on behalf of the Office of the Council of Ministers while the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training issued two separate letters regarding the three days off for the voting.

Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, in a letter said that all factory owners or directors must allow their workers to take three days’ leave from July 22 to 24, without any reduction of pay and benefits.

“Employers must also try to pay wages to the workers before July 22. If it is not possible, allow the workers to have a salary advance. Besides, workers are not required to show relevant documents when they return to work after voting,” Samheng added.

However, Sieng Sambath, president of the Workers’ Friendship Union Federation, suggested more days of leave for workers.

He said that the three-day leave would be sufficient for workers residing in Phnom Penh, but most of the workers in the capital are migrants from other provinces.

“So, it seems to me the three days will not be sufficient for them. It takes one day to travel to their hometown and one day to return,” he said.

However, Pav Sina, president of the Cambodian Workers’ Movement Union, said, “In the last two elections, the government allowed equal leave of absence for the workers across the country.”

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