A government plan to hike salaries for Cambodia’s impoverished civil servants would double the pay for a hard-working minority while handing out lesser raises—or nothing at all—to the majority of government employees, Minister of Cabinet Sok An said Monday.
The selected raises will be offered to more people every year to inspire the nation’s civil service corps to put in longer hours teaching at public schools, policing, or running government offices, Sok An said.
“We have a package of money, but we cannot provide to everybody equally. Some workers do not work!” he said.
The raises will not require more government funding; thousands of wasted dollars in payments to nonexistent employees were found recently when a new computerized payroll system was put online, Sok An said.
The plan could begin as soon as next month with raises of 38 to 100 percent for 1,500 employees. Sok An, who announced the plan at a meeting celebrating International Human Rights Day, did not explain who would select the workers who would get raises.
The new pay scale would designate civil service workers as an AA, A, B or C scale employee, with respective monthly raises of $200, $150, $100 or $50, he said. The compensation packages would also include larger family allowances for those workers with children.
The plan was devised by the Council of Ministers, Sok An said. “Some people say the government has done nothing, but we have done a lot,” he said after announcing the pay hikes.
The raises will soften the economic hardship faced by the nation’s civil service staff, some of whom earn as little as $20 a month. Low salaries are often blamed for widespread corruption among school teachers and police officers, some of whom claim that without taking bribes they would not have enough money to survive.
Sok An said the raises will be granted to more employees each year, probably at a rate of 500 workers per year depending on the budget. “They will be chosen if they work hard,” he said.
Though he chastised some workers for barely showing up for their jobs, Sok An said the government would not dismiss them.