Employment Law

The availability of a relatively low cost and mobile labour force is one of Thailand’s greatest assets and was the major reason for Thailand’s popularity for manufacturing businesses.The legal regulations relating to the employment of staff and workers are incorporated in the Labour Act and the section of the Civil and Commercial Code on contracts relating to the hire of services contracts. In addition, there are a number of ministerial regulations issued by the Ministry of Interior (prior to 1993) and the Ministry of Labour & Social Welfare (from 1993 onwards).Minimum WageThe minimum daily wage depends on the location and types of employment activities in accordance with the Labour Act.LocationMinimum Daily WageBangkok, Pathumhani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Nakhon, Pathom
191 BahtPhuket
186 BahtChonburi
172 BahtSaraburi
168 BahtNakhon Ratchasima
162 BahtRayong
161 BahtChachuangsao, Ayutthaya and Ranong
160 BahtChiang Mai and Phang Nga
159 BahtKrabi, Petchburi
156 BahtKanchanaburi, Chanburi, Petchburi and Lopburi
155 BahtOther provinces143-154 BahtWorking Hours & HolidaysLabour regulations prescribe the maximum number of working hours of employees at 48 hours per week. Where work is deemed hazardous, working hours may not exceed 42 hours a week or not more than 7 hours a day.Once employees have worked for 5 consecutive hours, they must be given a one-hour rest period. All employees who have worked continuously for a period of not less than one year are entitled to a minimum of 6 working days paid vacation every year in addition to the 13 public holidays traditionally observed in Thailand (including National Labour Day).Sick LeaveAll employees are entitled to sick leave with pay for up to 30 working days per year. An employer may require an employee to produce a medical certificate if the sick leave taken is for 3 consecutive days or more. An employee can be dismissed for absence from work for 3 days or more without reasonable explanation.Female & Child LabourFemale workers may not be employed to perform work which is strenuous and dangerous to their health, which is detrimental to their morals and safety; or between 12 midnight and 6am, except in shift work. A female employee who has worked for more than 180 days is entitled to take maternity leave with pay for 45 days and an additional 45 working days without pay, if necessary. Maternity leave is in addition to the 30 days paid sick leave to which all employees are entitled.Children under 15 years of age shall not be employed under any circumstances. Children over 15 but under 18 years of age may be allowed to work if official permission is secured from the Labour & Social Welfare Ministry. Children over 15 but under 18 should not be made to work between the hours of 10pm and 6am unless they are film or theatre performers or are engaged in similar work or compelled to work on traditional holidays, weekly holidays or during their annual leave. No one under 18 years is allowed to perform work prejudicial to their health, morals and safety.WelfareThe employer is required by law to provide adequate drinking facilities, washrooms and toilets for employees and must have first aid and medical facilities available on the premises. The extent of such facilities depends on the nature of business and number of employees.Working Rules & RegulationsAn employer with 10 or more regular employees is required to establish written rules and regulations in the Thai language governing work performance and to display these regulations at the work premises. A copy of these rules and regulations must be submitted to the Ministry of Labour & Social Welfare within 7 days from the date the employer acquires a total of 10 employees or more.An employer is also required to maintain an employee register in the Thai language with documents relating to the calculation of wages and these should be made readily available to Labour Inspectors.Termination of Employment & Severance PayWhere a work contract does not specify a definite period of employment, either party may terminate it by giving one-month’s written notice. A dismissed employee is entitled to receive termination payments based on length of service unless his dismissal is the result of serious misconduct.In the event an employee is dismissed without one month’s prior written notice, an additional one-month’s pay in lieu of notice is required.Labour RelationsAn employer is prohibited from dismissing an employee who is unable to continue working because of participation in labour rallies and submission of labour demands and negotiations, the result of which is pending.All labour associations must be registered with and licensed by the Central Registration Office of Employees’ Association, Ministry of Labour & Social Welfare or by provincial registrars designated by the Ministry of Labour & Social Welfare.Demands by employees can only be considered received by the employer when they are presented in writing and direct negotiations between employers and employees must be done through their authorised representatives.When the parties cannot reach agreement, conciliation may be made by the Labour Department upon receipt of the case presented in writing or an arbitrator may be appointed to reconcile the dispute.The employer may not resort to lockout or employment termination and employees are prohibited from staging strikes unless settlement procedures have been exhausted.Labour SettlementsThe Labour Inspector under the Labour Protection Act and the Labour Court under the Labour Court Procedure Act provides additional protection and remedies for any disputes arising between an employer and an employee including unfair termination.A decision as to whether an employee’s termination is unfair or not rests on the Labour inspector or the Labour Court’s discretion.Employment of Foreign NationalsWork PermitsThe Foreign Employment Act, administered by the Department of Employment, the Ministry of Labour & Welfare, prescribes the occupations in Thailand closed to foreigners, the procedures governing the issue and renewal of work permits and the punishment against persons violating this Act.With the exemption of certain foreigners such as members of diplomatic corps and consular missions, representatives of member countries and officials of the United Nations Organisation, persons entering the Kingdom to perform any duty must obtain a work permit before commencing work.A foreigner may be permitted under the Foreign Work Permit Act to carry out necessary and urgent work that shall not be more than 15 days in duration, however the Ministry of Labour & Social Welfare must be informed in writing before commencing such work.The Act provides a list of occupations exclusively reserved for Thais, mostly in the fields of manual and industrial labour and also in some professional occupations, such as engineering, accounting, architecture and law.The Act provides that a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf before the foreigner enters Thailand or the foreigner himself may file it after entry into the country. The work permit will be valid for such a period of time insofar as the foreigner’s non-immigrant visa permits them to remain in Thailand and will be renewed in accordance with the approval of a visa extension.Approval of a work permit is considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the financial status of the employer i.e. paid up capital, ratio of Thai staff to foreigners and how beneficial the business of the employer is to the Thai economy.Any foreigner engaging in work without a work permit (or in violation of his work as stipulated in his work permit), as well as any person found employing a foreigner without a relevant work permit may face imprisonment or a fine or both.The procedure for foreigners working in Thailand is to:Enter Thailand with a valid category B non-immigrant visa;Make application for a work permit (normally takes between 7 days to 2 weeks to process);Extend the category B non-immigrant visa beyond 90 days.Non-Immigrant VisaForeigners intending to live and work in Thailand must obtain a non-immigrant visa prior to arrival, issued by a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad.A foreigner who intends to remain in Thailand to work or undertake business is required to obtain a non-immigrant visa from a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate.There are several categories of non-immigrant visas including: business visa (category B), dependent visa (category O), long-term business visa (category B-A), diplomatic and consular visa (category D), and an education visa (category ED).To avoid application and approval complications, the correct category of non-immigrant visa should be obtained prior to entering Thailand. Foreigners intending to work in Thailand will be issued a category B visa while members of his/her family are usually issued category O visas. Some embassies may also require certification or a letter of invitation from the prospective employer in Thailand.Upon arrival, a non-immigrant visa holder will initially be granted a 90 days stay. A category B visa is normally not extendable unless the applicant has applied for a work permit. In practice, the Immigration Department grants a temporary stay visa for a period of up to 1 month at a time during the process for extension of the category B visa. Approval of the visa extension is considered on a case-by-case basis and the decision of the Immigration Bureau is final.Immigrant Visa (Permanent Residence)The Ministry of the Interior fixes an annual immigration quota for each country. A foreigner wishing to enter the Kingdom as an immigrant should file an application with the Thai Embassy or Consulate in the country of departure.An application may also be filed with the Immigration Bureau after arrival into Thailand, provided the applicant holds a non-immigrant visa. The application must also be accompanied with personal information details. The applicant’s dependents are also required to apply for permanent residence and are included in the country’s quota.Visa approval is dependent upon assessment of the applicant’s income, assets, ability and qualifications for the desired position and associated social status. A permanent residence is issued upon approval of the application. The foreigner must also apply for a foreigner certificate at the local police station within 7 days of receipt of the permanent residence. Renewal of the permanent residence (blue book) is not necessary, however the foreigner certificate (red book) must be renewed each year or every five years.

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