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Can an employee work over 8 hours a day? 

CLEC - 2008-05-30

With economic growth and development, the number of new enterprises is increasing.  This means a significant increase in workforce.  The employees of each organization, including NGOs and private companies, work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, or 40 hours per week.  Others may work 8 hours per day and 44 hours per week, Monday to Friday and Saturday morning. However, the problem arises when the business operates with regular working hours between 10 hours to 12 hours per day, 6 to 7 days per week. 

Can an employee have his/her regular working hours exceeding 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week? 

Many countries limit the number of hours that employees are required to work.  In Cambodia, the Labour Law limits regular working hours in a day or a week. This limitation of working hour is to protect health and safety of workers.

Article 137 of Cambodia labour law. "In all establishments of any nature ... the number of hours worked by workers of either sex cannot exceed eight hours per day, or 48 hours per week." 

Article 138. "The work schedule is set ... up only two shifts, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon"

Under the above article of Labour law, the maximum working hour is 8 hours per day and 6 days per week or 48 hours per week. Each organisation is free to establish its own work schedule (article 138). Example: NGOs' employees work 8 consecutive working hours. For the organisations which operate in split shifts (e.g. transportation), the split of 8 regular working hours must not exceed 2 shifts per day. For the organization such as factory, hospital and hotels that need to operate 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, the work schedule must arrange shifts of 8 hours per day and 6 days per week. 

In order to have a break on Saturday afternoon, the employer could ask the employee to work more regular working hour per day but to the limit that the extra hour does not exceed 1 hour per day and 48 hours per week. Article 141 of labour law and Prakas issued by the Ministry in Charge of Labor shall determine as follows: 

  1. The allocation of working hours within the forty-eight hour working week in order to allow for a break on Saturday afternoon or any other equivalent approach, on the condition that the extra hours do not exceed one hour per day of the regular schedule.
  2. The allocation of working hours within a period of time other than the week, on the condition that the average length of working time calculated by the number of weeks does not surpass forty-eight hours per week, that the daily hours do not surpass ten hours, and that the extra hours do not exceed one hour per day ... "

This means that the employees can work 9 hours per day at the normal pay rate but have a break on Saturday afternoon which exceed the maximum working hour per day but not exceed 48 hours per week. 

On the other hand, article 140 of labour law states that in order to make up for hours lost following mass interruptions in the work or a general slowdown  the daily work hours can be extended by 1 hour per day but the total working hours per day could not exceed 10 hours. This extension authorization comes under Prakas. 

Despite the limitation of working hours to 48 hours per week, the law recognizes overtime work in cases of urgent need.  Overtime must be voluntary and is subject to additional payment, over the regular rate, stated by law.

From the above article of labour law, we can conclude that the regular working hour of the employees, between 10 hours to 12 hours per day and between 6 days to 7 days per week is against the law. The worker could work over 48 hours per week but according to the law, any work beyond these regular working hours, 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week, is considered overtime, and is subject to be paid as overtime rate stated by law.

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