PHNOM PENH, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — The Cambodian government on Friday set a new monthly minimum wage for the country’s multi-billion-dollar garment and footwear industries at 190 U.S. dollars for 2020, up 4.39 percent from the current 182 dollars, Labor Minister Ith Samheng announced.
The announcement came after the National Council for Minimum Wage voted on a minimum wage of 187 dollars for next year, which was then upped an additional three dollars by the government.
The National Council for Minimum Wage is comprised of 51 members, including 17 each from the government, the garment manufacturers, and the trade unions.
“Today, the National Council for Minimum Wage decided on the monthly minimum wage of 187 dollars and Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen added another 3 dollars, so the minimum wage for the garment and footwear industries for 2020 is 190 dollars a month,” Samheng told reporters after the vote.
Besides the monthly minimum wage, workers will also receive other fringe benefits including an extra 10 dollars per month for regular attendance and an extra 7 dollars per month for transportation and rent, he said.
The new wage will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the minister said.
“We believe that the wage hike will further improve the livelihoods of our garment and footwear workers,” he said.
He added that the new minimum wage is similar to that of neighboring Vietnam.
According to Samheng, to ease the expense burden of the manufacturers, the government is considering to further lower the electricity price for garment and footwear industries to 0.127 U.S. dollar per kilowatt-hour from the current 0.147 dollar.
Also, the government is considering to lower the rate of corporate income tax for garment and footwear exporters from 20 percent to 15 percent.
Nang Sothy, co-chair of the Government-Private Working Group on Industrial Relations, said employers are happy to raise wage for workers and believe that the increase will better improve the workers’ living conditions.
“We hope the workers will work harder to increase productivity so as to boost competitiveness in the sectors,” he told reporters.
Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said the minimum wage hike is a “new positive step” toward improving the workers’ livelihoods.
Garment and footwear industries are the largest foreign exchange earner for the Southeast Asian nation, and the industries consist of about 1,100 factories with approximately 750,000 workers, mostly females.
In August, the government decided to reduce annual public holidays from the current 28 days to 22 days, starting from next year. The move was aimed at boosting the country’s competitiveness and productivity.