New Employee Benefits Mandated in Thailand

Thanks to amended labor protection laws, more employees in Thailand will be protected from unfair treatment since there are now increased regulations for employee entitled benefits. Employers now have increased obligations to raise the overall well-being of the workers of this country in areas such as maternity leave and severance pay benefits, among others.

Thai workers will now receive an increase in entitled days for maternity leave (from 90 to 98 days) and employers must pay full wage for at least 45 days of this leave period. Additionally, employees may now take a minimum of 3 personal leave days per year. These days will also be fully paid by the employer.

Under this new legislation, employees may also apply for transfers between organizations, especially in the event of a merger. Employers may also request that an employee be transferred, but with this legislative change, the employer-requested transfer can now be implemented only with the consent of the employee. This policy is intended to limit unnecessary employee movement between organizations or locations within one organization, and to increase an employee’s stability while limiting the number of transitions and churn an employee and their family would have to endure. Another legislative benefit is that employees now have the right to refuse an employer’s relocation requests; in such situations, employees will be able to terminate their employment agreement without cause, while also being entitled to some form of severance pay.

Entitlement to severance pay has also been significantly increased with these amendments to the Labor Protection Policy. In the past, employees were limited to a severance pay of a maximum of 300 days wage based on 10 years of continual service, a situation seen as unfair since longer tenured staff received the same rates of severance benefits as those who had been with the organization for half, or even less, the amount of time. Now employees who have worked for an organization for over 20 years of continual service may receive severance pay of up to 400 days based on the employee’s most recent wage.

Given the recent resonance of gender-based pay equity, not just in Thailand but globally, employers are now responsible for ensuring equal pay for both male and female employees who are performing the same type, quality and quantity of work, and who possess the same skills and education. It is up to the employer to ensure that the pay scales at work reflect this legislation and that adequate documentation is maintained for all employees. These documents may include detailed descriptions as to why employees are paid their current rates, and descriptions of how pay raise determinations were made. It is important that an organization keep these records throughout the employment relationship, as they may be important references in the event of any legal claim or action.

Other new benefits include employees who currently do not receive overtime pay may take legal action to demand the payment of overtime hours. Employees may now also request interest payment of 15% on overdue or defaulted overtime pay.

Overall, these legislation changes have been created to raise Thailand’s current labor laws to global compliance standards. As more organizations are held accountable for their practices, we can expect to see more changes to global employee rights legislation across many countries. At this time, employees in Thailand can look forward to changes now in effect that were designed with their welfare in mind.

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