With the general election slated for July 23, the government has announced that all civil servants and employees of private companies will be entitled to paid leave from July 22-24, in order for them to play their part in the democratic process.

The guaranteed time off to cast their ballots was announced in a June 3 letter signed by Chhuon Chham, acting secretary of state of the Council of Ministers.

On the same day, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng issued instructions to the owners of all factories and large enterprises, advising them to follow the instructions closely.

“Under the Kingdom’s labour laws, days off that are mandated by the government do not require proof of absence. Employers should make sure that their staff are paid prior to July 22. If they are unable to pay their workers in time, please allow them to get advances on their salaries,” he said.

“We firmly hope that all employers and employees will obey the law,” Samheng added.

Speaking to over 27,000 workers from 24 factories in Kampong Speu province on June 4, Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to them to use the three days of paid leave to exercise their democratic rights.

“Let me make it clear that on July 23 all workers should go to vote in the election. It is your obligation as citizens, regardless of which party you cast your vote for,” he said.

Mann Senghak, president of the Federation Union of Labour Influence (FULI), told The Post on June 4 that it was good to give workers time off during the election.

“It makes them happy because they have enough time to travel back and forth, especially with their salaries paid,” he said.

He added that the government clearly wanted all workers to cast their votes in the election, for whichever political party they are satisfied with.

National Election Committee (NEC) spokesman Hang Puthea told The Post on June 4 that the upcoming election required the participation of all eligible individuals, in order to strengthen the Kingdom’s electoral system.

“The government has facilitated this paid leave, so that all employees will have enough time to vote. By doing this, the government is promoting their democratic rights. This illustrates the close attention they pay to allowing all citizens the right to participate in the democracy process, regardless of their political allegiance,” he said.

“The government has shown a real will to encourage the election to be held in a free, fair transparent manner, especially with the participation of Cambodia’s factory workers,” he concluded.