The Thai National Wage Committee recently approved a resolution to set minimum wage rates for 20 professional branches across five industry groups, based on skills standards under the law governing skill development promotion. The Notification of the National Wage Committee on Wage Rate According to Skills Standards No. 5 (the "Notification") was subsequently issued specifying the eligible professional branches and their respective wage rates. The Notification will  become effective on 10 August 2016.

In order to be eligible for the new minimum wage rates, employees must pass the professional skill standards tests and obtain relevant certificates from the authorities and they must also be employed to work in positions that require usage of such skills, either entirely or partly. The mere fact that the employee has relevant experience or certificate does not automatically entitle such employee to the new minimum wage.

Employees working in the below five industry groups will be entitled to the new wage rates pursuant to the Notification: 

  1. electrical industry and electronics, e.g. lighting equipment assembler and electrical appliance motor assembler;
  2. motor vehicle industry, e.g. lather technician, product quality assurance officer and body painting technician;
  3. logistics industry, e.g. forklift driver, warehouse operator and inventory controller;
  4. parts and spare parts of motor vehicles industry, e.g. automatic lathe technician and MAG welder for motor vehicle parts industry; and
  5. jewelry industry, e.g. gem setter and lapidarian.

The wage rates of the 20 professional branches under these industry groups are classified into two levels, according to the required skills and level of experience. A level 2 employee, classified as more skilled and experienced, is entitled to receive a higher wage rate than an employee in level 1 of that particular profession. For example, a level 1 warehouse operator is entitled to a minimum wage of Baht 340 per day and is expected to be capable of fulfilling a set of requirements for this level, including complying with the work regulations; understanding the method of lifting, arranging and packing the products in accordance with the job card and specified format; counting the products; having ability to read Thai and English language documents used in the warehouse; and completing uncomplicated and fixed tasks assigned. On the other hand, a level 2 warehouse operator is entitled to a minimum wage of Baht 410 per day and has higher skill requirements, including being  capable of supervising the works done by the assistant of the warehouse operator and fulfilling more complicated and higher-skilled tasks, among others.

Employers of the employees working in these professional branches specified in the Notification will be legally required to pay wages at least at the rates specified by the Notification, and not less. Failure to pay wages in accordance with the Notification may subject employers to criminal penalties, including an imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to Baht 100,000, or both.