Labour Inspection Structure and Organization

Name of institution that manages work issues

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) is responsible for labour affairs in the country.

Department(s) responsible for Labour Inspection

Within the MoLVT, the General Department of Labour is responsible for the enforcement of labour law, for improving and ensuring hygiene, health, security and good working conditions at the factories/enterprises, inspecting enterprises and to following-up on the labour law enforcement and provisions related to working conditions, OSH and the general social welfare of workers/employees.

The General Department of Labour has six departments including, specifically one that covers Labour Inspection and another one specific to Occupational Health and Safety. There is no formal coordination among the six departments, which nonetheless maintain informal contact and are all located in the same office building.

The National Social Security Fund is an autonomous institution, which also has its own staff of labour inspectors.

Law that covers organization and functional composition

  • Organization and Functioning of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation, 4 October 1999 (Anukret 87/ANKR-BK)
  • Labour Code of 17 January 1997

Scope of labour inspection

The labour inspectorate has authority over all economic activities without distinction, including voluntary, self-employed and migrant workers.

In Phnom Penh there is a clear separation of OSH and general inspection but at the provincial level, labour inspectors assume all the labour inspection functions without distinction, both OSH and working conditions. Inspectors also have the function of enforcing the legal provisions regarding the living conditions of workers and their families.

Labour inspectors are empowered to enforce the labour law, provide information and advice to employers and workers on how to comply with the labour legislation as well as to bring to the attention of the competent authority any improprieties or abuses that are not specifically covered by the existing legal provisions. Labour inspectors also assume other responsibilities including dispute resolution, due to limited resources and the insufficient number of labour inspectors.

Local divisions

There are 24 labour offices in Cambodia including at the provincial and municipal levels. There are also district offices that are sub-divisions of the provincial administrative units. All these divisions include labour inspection functions.

Programming and communication

There appears to be no guidance from the central authority on how to plan and programme inspection activities, leaving provinces to decide independently on their own inspection priorities and actions.

Further, there is no systematic coordination mechanism on labour inspection between the provinces themselves or between the provinces and the General Department of Labour. Provincial labour offices are supposed to submit consolidated quarterly reports to the General Department of Labour on all labour activities, including labour inspection. In practice, however, not every provincial office submits these reports in a timely manner.

Human Resources and career development

Permanency of inspectors

Cambodian labour inspectors are civil servants with protection against dismissal.

Selection process

All job applicants to the Ministry of Labour have had to pass an examination before being accepted as labour officers but labour inspectors are recruited without regard to their specific role as labour inspectors. There is no differentiation in the qualifications or examination for labour inspectors as such

Background required

The law requires that agents of the Labour Administration have sufficient qualifications and have adequate training for carrying out their respective functions and that measures be taken to ensure that permanent training is provided to these agents during their careers.

The National Occupational Safety and Health Programme foresees the creation of a continuous training systems for labour inspectors. There is however no specific national training strategy (whether for labour inspectors or general labour officers). This includes training for new recruits as well as on-going training. Most of the training that has occurred has been ad hoc and delivered through international technical assistance.

Visits and functions

Types of visits

Inspectors carry out routine visits which are planned in advance and special visits which are those generated by a request or complaint. In provinces, routine visits are notified to employers in advance. At the provincial level, inspectors usually carry out visits in pairs, whereas at in Phnom Penh, where inspectors are responsible for enterprises with more than 100 workers, visits are carried out in groups of three.

Some provincial offices conduct labour inspections almost exclusively in factories producing for the export market (primarily textile and garment factories).

Role of preventive measures

Despite the power to enforce the law, most of the labour inspector interventions are focused on prevention.

Planning of labour inspection visits

Most of the visits are carried out based on the initiative of individual labour inspectors with no plan or target, often in response to the opening of a new enterprise or, in fewer cases, in response to complaints.

Registries and reporting of accidents/diseases at work

The main enterprise database in Cambodia is compiled by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and can be accessed upon request by inspectors. The NSSF receives reports of occupational accidents for the purpose of compensation but the Ministry of Labour is not informed of their occurrence despite the fact that the law requires that occupational accidents be reported to the labour inspectorate.

Sanction and administrative processes

If an infraction is detected in the course of a visit, the inspector draws up a report setting a date for a follow-up visit to determine whether the violation has been corrected. If upon the follow-up visit, the employer has still not brought their practice into compliance with the law, the inspector can prepare a letter of warning, after which a fine can be issued or prosecution proceedings initiated. In practice, sanctions are rarely imposed and prosecutions rarely initiated.

The Labour Code empowers inspectors to take immediate measures when they conclude there is an imminent danger to the health and safety of workers. When employers are dissatisfied with decisions taken by labour inspectors, they are granted the right to appeal.

Social dialogue and labour inspection

Collaboration with the social partners on matters of labour inspection (at the enterprise and national level) is weak where it exists at all. At the national level, the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) is a legally established tripartite body responsible for labour matters. However, in the past five years the LAC has met a total of three times and in each of these cases to discuss the issue of minimum wages. It has not discussed issues related to labour inspection.

Among the functions shop stewards is the referral to the labour inspector of all complaints relating to the enforcement of the labour law. The Labour Code also provides that labour inspectors may need to be accompanied by one or more shop stewards during inspections.

ILO Conventions ratified

Cambodia has not ratified Convention No. 81 nor Convention No. 129.