Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Laos: New Law on Civil Servants Being Drafted

(Aug. 30, 2013) It was reported on August 13, 2013, that the Ministry of Home Affairs of Laos is drafting a new law on civil servants. The aim of the legislation is to improve public administration and the delivery of services as the country develops closer ties in the immediate region and beyond. The law is taking shape at the same time that the government is refining its selection process to recruit more talented individuals as state officials, by requiring applicants to take exams to ensure employment based on merit. (Ministry Drafts New Law on State Employees, VIENTIANE TIMES (last updated Aug. 13, 2013).)

It is expected that the draft law, which amalgamates provisions found in various Prime Ministerial decrees on state employees, will be submitted to the National Assembly later in 2013 for consideration and approval. The decrees cover not only development of the civil service sector, but also the management of officials from director-generals of departments on down to lower ranks of officialdom. The new law is to be broader in scope than the previous decrees and will cover higher-level government officials as well the rank-and-file. (Id.; see for example, Decree on Civil Service of the LAO PDR, Prime Minister’s Office Decree 82/PM, Lao PDR Ministry of Home Affairs website (May 19, 2003) [scroll down to links to full text of the Decree, in English and in Lao].)

At present, about 150,000 civil servants, or over 2% of the population of Laos, are employed by the ministries, government organizations, and local authorities. In promoting the new legislation, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Khammoun Viphongxay has acknowledged that “Laos did not have sufficient skilled and qualified officials and employed a large number of officials of low standard.” (Ministry Drafts New Law on State Employees, supra.) The government hopes that this problem will be addressed by the streamlining of the selection process and by allocating to local governments a larger quota of the state employees. (Id.)

According to Deputy Minister Khammoun, after a salary increase came into effect in 2012, more Laotians have been seeking employment in government offices, and further pay increases are planned up to 2015. He stated, “I believe that as more people look for jobs in the public sector, we will have more opportunities to select qualified and competent people to work for the government and drive the country’s development.” (Id.; see also Bouangeun Ounnalath, Ministry of Finance of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Comparison on Salary System for Government between Lao PDR and Japan (Power Point presentation, Tokyo, Aug. 31, 2006) & Naazneen Barma et al., Lao PDR Civil Service Pay and Compensation Review: Attracting and Motivating Civil Servants, Report No. 58018-LA,WORLD BANK (June 2010).)