Implementing recent cabinet resolutions to introduce social security relief measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 17, 2020, Thailand’s Ministry of Labor published two regulations under the Social Security Act (SSA) in the Government Gazette:
The details of the assistance measures are provided below.
The Force Majeure Regulation
The Ministry of Labor has revised the definition of force majeure to include hazards from the COVID-19 pandemic, or other dangerous communicable diseases that affect the public under relevant law relating to communicable diseases, causing an insured person (an employee) to be unable to work, or an employer to be unable to operate their business normally.
This regulation allows the Social Security Office (SSO) to pay compensation to employees who:
This applies only if the circumstances above result from one or more the following force majeure events related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Under this regulation, employees will be entitled to receive compensation at a rate of 62% of their daily wages during the work cessation period, up to a maximum of 90 days, between March 1 and August 31, 2020 (subject to amendment by the cabinet and the Ministry of Labor from time to time). The payment will be calculated based on daily wages, but will be paid monthly. In addition, the employer is obligated to issue a certificate of confirmation containing details prescribed in the regulation.
The Economic Crisis Regulation
Insured employees under the SSA are entitled to receive benefits during periods of unemployment caused by the economic crisis between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2022 as follows:
To qualify for compensation under this regulation, the employee must have paid contributions to the Social Security Fund for at least six of the prior 15 months, counted from the date of unemployment; must have registered with the SSO; and must comply with regulations provided by the Social Security officer.
These regulations provide general criteria for employees to receive benefits from the Social Security Fund. However, they do not grant employers broad discretion to cease operations without paying wages to employees, temporarily or permanently, and employers must consider the facts on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they should do so, and to avoid unexpected costs under the Labor Protection Act. We therefore recommend that any employer planning to temporarily or permanently cease operations consider seeking legal advice before doing so.