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Government Launches Social Health Care and Worker Training Initiatives

PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian government officially launched a social healthcare initiative alongside a free vocational training program for poor and vulnerable youth on November 14.

Labor Minister Heng Sour said the programs represent two of the Ministry’s six priority tasks for 2023 which include increasing income, improving working conditions, strengthening industrial relations and providing professional protection for workers and their families. He explained that the health care program covers civil servants and self-employed workers. The benefits are extended to their families as well. Those who wish to enroll in the program must pay 15,600 Riels (about $3.78) for each individual on the healthcare plan.

 “Through the implementation of this program, self-employed individuals and their dependents will receive Level 1 benefits, including treatment and medical care services available at partner health facilities,” he said. “In addition to public hospitals, self-employed women who have paid contributions for nine consecutive months will receive maternity leave at the time of childbirth and a funeral allowance upon their [the woman’s] death.”

Minister Heng Sour then went on to give details on the technical and vocational training that is to be provided to at-risk youth: a program which was discussed by former Prime Minister Hun Sen before he left office. He said that the program is meant to help young people quickly seize job opportunities, reduce unemployment and promote participation in Cambodia’s growing industrial fields. He hopes that more Cambodians will be able to find work based on skill rather than hard labor.

The Ministry has identified 38 technical skills to teach including construction, electric, manufacturing, agriculture and information technology.

Prime Minister Hun Manet instructed the Ministry of Labor to monitor these programs and to accept suggestions, solve challenges and evaluate the quality of each program.

"I would like to encourage all citizens and workers, as well as businessmen, investors, associations, national and international development partners, employers' associations and unions to participate in supporting the implementation of these two important national programs by providing the maximum benefit," said the PM.

The government estimates that nearly five million people will benefit from the two new programs, which it cites as a major achievement in Prime Minister Hun Manet’s first three months of leadership.

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