Thailand’s Ministry of Labor is soon expected to issue two regulations and an announcement to formalize and implement the Social Security Office’s policy on COVID-19 assistance measures, reflecting two recent cabinet resolutions. Drafts are now being considered by the Office of the Council of State, after which they will be sent for the minister’s signature and announced in the Government Gazette. The following measures are expected to be announced:
Regulation on Entitlement to Compensatory Benefits in the Event of Unemployment Due to Force Majeure B.E. 2563 (2020)
The Ministry of Labor will revise the definition of force majeure in the relevant law to include hazards from communicable human diseases classified as serious under relevant laws relating to communicable diseases. This revision will bring the COVID-19 pandemic within the definition of force majeure, allowing the Social Security Office to apply section 79/1 of the Social Security Act (“SSA”) to pay compensation to employees who have had to cease working and are not receiving wages from the employer, but whose employment has not been terminated, as a result of one or more the following events related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The employer orders the cessation of specific employees’ work due to the force majeure obstructing normal business operations.
- The employee has to cease working due to the force majeure, with the approval of the employer.
- The government orders the employer to close the business as a preventive measure for the pandemic of disease.
Employees will be entitled to receive compensation during the work cessation period at a rate of 62% of their daily wages contributions to the Social Security Office. This entitlement is limited to a maximum of 90 days.
Regulation on Criteria and Rates for Compensatory Benefits in the Event of Unemployment Amidst the Economic Crisis B.E. 2563 (2020)
This regulation will declare an economic crisis from March 1, 2020, to February 28, 2022, and will allow the Social Security Office to pay compensation to employees whose employment contract ends for the following reasons during this period:
- Termination by the employer. This entitles the employee to receive compensation at the rate of 70% of their daily wages contributions to the Social Security Office. This entitlement is limited to 200 days for each termination.
- Resignation or expiration of definite employment. This entitles the employee to receive compensation at the rate of 45% of their daily wages contributions to the Social Security Office, limited to 90 days for each period of unemployment.
Announcement on Rules, Procedures, and Criteria for Deduction of Contributions by Employers and Insured Persons in the Event of Pandemic of COVID-19 B.E. 2563 (2020)
This declaration will temporarily decrease the mandatory Social Security Fund contributions under section 33 of the Social Security Act B.E. 2533 (1990) to 1% for employees and 4% for employers (see this article for more information).
Employers and employees should consider the ramifications of these pending regulations so that they can take appropriate actions, if necessary, once the measures are officially issued. The measures above reflect cabinet decisions that are expected to be adopted into legislation in due course, but changes may occur as the legislation passes through the formalities before coming into force. We will continue to update you of any such changes as this situation develops.