Sciaroni & Associates: New Draft of Law on Trade Unions By Max Howlett and Yun Sophal

New Draft of Law on Trade Unions

By Max Howlett and Yun Sophal

The existing legal provisions pertaining to professional organizations within the Kingdom of Cambodia – i.e. workers’ unions and employers’ associations – are briefly stipulated under Chapter XI of the Labor Law as well as in a number of supplementary regulations issued by the Ministry of Labor.

A new draft of the Law on Unions of Enterprises has been recently released with the aim to further clarify the rights, duties and roles of professional organizations. Promoting harmonious industrial relations and contributing to development of decent work and enhancing productivity are two of the main purposes of this draft law.

The law, once enacted, will apply to organizations and persons covered within the scope of application of the Labor Law.

The draft law contains 91 Articles, categorized under 17 Chapters, dealing with:

  • Chapter 1: General Provisions
  • Chapter 2: Fundamental Rights
  • Chapter 3: Registration of Union or Employer Association
  • Chapter 4: Finances of Union or Employer Association
  • Chapter 5: Dissolution of Union or Employer Association
  • Chapter 6: Worker Representatives
  • Chapter 7: Rights and Duties of Unions
  • Chapter 8: Duties of Employers and their Associations
  • Chapter 9: Most Representative Status Unions
  • Chapter 10: Unfair Labor Practices by Employers
  • Chapter 11: Unfair Labor Practices by Unions
  • Chapter 12: Special Protections for Workers & Reps
  • Chapter 13: Collective Agreements and Bargaining
  • Chapter 14: Resolution of Disputes
  • Chapter 15: Penalties
  • Chapter 16: Transitional Provisions
  • Chapter 17: Final Provisions

According to the present draft version, unions and employer associations currently registered with the Ministry will continue to be in valid existence until a new term for the election of leaders, managers and those responsible for administration, or there is any change made to their statute.

The draft also provides that a specialized Labor Court, once created, will have jurisdiction over labor disputes instead of the municipal or provincial courts of first instance.

Sciaroni and Associates

Sciaroni & Associates Labor Practice Group

Obtaining good labor advice and having well-executed employment contracts will help businesses to prevent disputes, save time and cost, and preserve reputation.

Sciaroni & Associates has been heavily involved in the development of this important sector since its early stages and is a leading and trusted authority on labor matters. In addition, the firm has assisted clients in mediation, arbitration, and settlement of disputes. Members of our Labor Practice Group have also authored textbooks of the subject for Cambodian lawyers and students.

As such, we are well placed to advise and assist you on labor related matters in Cambodia, and we have represented companies, investors, embassies, and organizations in the Kingdom of Cambodia as well as individuals.

Sciaroni & Associates is a leading business and investment advisory firm serving Southeast Asia since 1993 with offices in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Sciaroni & Associates assists clients in understanding the complex business conditions in those markets while efficiently identifying and resolving issues following strict international ethical standards. Our firm provides experienced advice and seasoned business insights to many of the world’s leading companies, governments, economic think tanks, global development funds and international NGOs.

For more information please visit or contact us at [email protected].

© Sciaroni & Associates 2014

Max Howlett

Max Howlett

An Australian lawyer, Max has been working in Cambodia since 1995 on a range of commercial, real estate and general legal matters. He has extensive knowledge of Cambodian law and assists many international clients with compliance issues regarding local laws and regulations. Max has a Master of Laws degree from the University of Melbourne.


Yun Sophal

Yun Sophal

Sophal has extensive knowledge of Cambodian law, practice, and custom, specializing in labor law issues and labor dispute resolution with experience in legal research, analysis, evidence examination and arbitral award drafting. She has served as a Legal Officer with the Arbitration Council Foundation. She earned her Bachelor of Laws in dual language-based programs from the Royal University of Law and Economics, Cambodia, and a Masters Degree in Law from the Transnational Law and Business University, South Korea. She speaks English and Khmer.