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January 19, 2023

Thailand Passes New Labor Law on Work-from-Home Arrangements

The Thai parliament has passed the so-called Work from Home Bill—formally known as Labour Protection Act (No. 8) B.E. 2566 (2023)—which amends the country’s Labour Protection Act (LPA) to reflect current circumstances. The accompanying legislative remark states that the proposed amendments to the LPA will provide additional options for work arrangements between employers and employees, upgrade the level of labor protection, increase work stability, and improve quality of life for employees in Thailand.

The legislation adds a single section to the LPA providing that an employer and an employee “may agree in the employment contract” that the employee is allowed “to bring work . . . to perform at home or at the residence of the employee or anywhere that the employee can work remotely through information technology, if the nature of the work permits.”

The provision further provides that employers are responsible for ensuring that remote work agreements are in writing, either physically or electronically, and may include the following details:

  • Period of the agreement;
  • Normal working hours, rest periods, and overtime work;
  • Criteria for overtime work, holiday work, and various types of leave;
  • Scope of work and control or supervision by the employer; and
  • Responsibility for arranging supplies and equipment, including necessary costs relating to the work.

The amended LPA gives employees who work from home the right to refuse contact from the employer or the supervisor beyond working hours. In addition, employers must treat remote employees equally to on-premise employees.

The most notable question surrounding this legislation is whether employers must allow employees to work remotely. The phrase “may agree” suggests that employers do not have to agree to allow an employee to work remotely. Another important aspect of the amendment is that there is no criminal punishment attached to it, which suggests that the legislation promotes remote work rather than penalizing any wrongdoing.

The legislation is now awaiting royal endorsement and is expected to be enacted very soon.

For more details on the amended LPA, or on any aspect of employment law in Thailand, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].

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