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Labour Ministry Orders Businesses To Pay Workers Amid Virus Outbreak

Source: Vientiane Times

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has instructed businesses in the production and service sectors to respect the Law on Labour, related laws, and regulations on the payment of workers affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Director General of the ministry’s Department of Labour Management, Mr Phongxaysack Intharat, represented the ministry during the daily briefing given by the National Taskforce Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control on Tuesday to explain the steps taken by the ministry concerning the payment of workers and social insurance.

The ministry has issued special instructions in response to the unusual circumstances resulting from the virus outbreak.

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The measures taken by the ministry relate to the Law on Labour, Law on Social Insurance, and Prime Minister’s Order No. 6 on Enhancing Measures on Prevention, Control, and Comprehensive Preparedness in the Response to Covid-19.

The ministry has instructed businesses that suspended operations in April, in line with the PM’s Order, to pay their employees their normal wage if they have not yet done so. Businesses that are in serious financial difficulties should pay their workers at least 50 percent of their normal wage.

Workers whose wages are determined by output or are paid on a daily basis and earn less that the minimum wage set by the government should also be paid at least 50 percent of the amount they typically earn, or about 550,000 kip. In each case, workers should be paid their normal wage for the days they worked and for the Lao New Year holiday from April 13-19.

Workers who are members of the Social Insurance Fund and were laid off by their employers from May 1 onwards under the PM’s Order are to be paid unemployment benefit in accordance with the stated conditions and timeframe.

The ministry instructed employers to comply with the Law on Labour, related regulations, and labour agreements. They should not cancel any agreements entered into with workers, who are facing hardship due to the virus outbreak, without the ministry’s permission or engaging in discussions with all parties.

Businesses and employers can discuss problems faced by workers while the PM’s Order is in force with the workers themselves or their representative agency, with the outcome to be summited to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for consideration.

Businesses certified as being affected by the Covid-19 outbreak that need to resolve issues such as the temporary suspension of operations, permanent ending of operations, reduction in the workforce, or labour agreements can discuss these with individual workers or groups, as specified by the prime ministerial decree on labour-related disputes.

The ministry also noted that employers must continue to pay contributions to the Social Insurance Fund as well as paying workers’ wages.