A number of amendments have been introduced to Thailand’s Labor Protection Act (LPA) and are pending royal assent and publication in the Government Gazette. Notable changes include provisions aimed at protecting the benefits of specific groups or categories of employees, reducing requirements on registration of work rules by businesses, and protecting employees by helping them receive statutory severance at retirement. The details of each key change are outlined below.
The Ministry of Labor’s Wage Committee will be empowered with the authority not only to set minimum wages based on types of businesses, specific categories of work, and locations, but also to set minimum wages for specific groups (e.g., student employees, etc.), in order to encourage businesses to hire and to protect specific employees or categories of employees.
Businesses with 10 or more employees will no longer be required to submit their work rules or amendments to work rules to the Director General of the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare or designee, in order to ease administrative burden. Businesses will still be required to:
Provisions on retirement have been introduced, with retirement deemed to be termination of employment. Thus, retiring employees will be entitled to receive statutory severance under any of the following conditions:
The employer’s work rules or agreements set a retirement age above 60 years of age and the employee reaches 60 years of age, would like to retire, and has informed the employer of their intent to retire.
The new amendments also increase penalties for certain labor offenses, including those related to child labor protection, in an effort to deter exploitation of employees.
Once in force, it is expected that the new LPA will effectively address the following important challenges in the current LPA:
The amendments in the new LPA appear to be highly beneficial to both employers and employees. Nonetheless, employers in Thailand may wish to review their existing policies for compliance as the new provisions are likely to take effect in the very near future.