As well as gaining an insight into the operations of one of the leading companies in the clothing industry in Laos, he was also extremely interested to learn about MASCOT's efforts towards a better working environment. Before being appointed Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sompheng Saysompheng was Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, hence his particular interest in the employees' working conditions.
MASCOT does not work in shifts and avoids working overtime as much as possible to prevent the employees' social and family lives from being impacted negatively. MASCOT is one of only two companies in Laos to have the SA8000 certification for its working environment.
MASCOT operates its own medical clinic with a full-time doctor and two full-time nurses. The day of the Minister's visit was also the first working day for an additional doctor in the clinic. So now the company has two full-time doctors. MASCOT is currently in the process of expanding the clinic to nearly double its current size.
The Minister was delighted to hear that all employees are covered by the public health insurance, which is not always the case in Laos, as employers have to pay 5% of employees' pay to the scheme.
In addition to gaining a greater insight into how foreign companies operate in Laos, the purpose of the Minister's visit was to learn about MASCOT's efforts in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
All MASCOT employees and guests have their temperature checked on arrival, and anyone with a fever is sent home and asked to take a COVID-19 test. MASCOT requires everyone in the factory to wear a face mask, and all employees have also been issued a visor. Hand sanitiser is placed around the factory, and employees are encouraged to wash their hands at least every two hours.
MASCOT has also set up room dividers between seating areas in the canteen to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, the company has allocated a separate room for a hospital bed and toilet, should any employee who has entered company premises be suspected of having COVID-19.
Before concluding his visit, Sompheng Saysompheng praised MASCOT's efforts in creating a good working environment for employees and for implementing preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.