The Thai government has focused on updating the Labor Protection Act (LPA) this year. The LPA was first amended on January 24, 2017. More recently, on June 29, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has approved further amendments that are now pending Royal endorsement. With the goal of encouraging local businesses and foreign investors to protect employees, the amendments address issues that the LPA did not fully cover in its previous form.
Important provisions in the amendments to the LPA include:
- The Ministry of Labor’s Wage Committee has the authority to set minimum wages for specific groups, or specific categories of work, businesses, or professionals in different locations.
- It has always been the case that an employer that has ten or more employees is required to have work rules, and the work rules must specify working days, holidays, and other details stipulated by the LPA. Under the new LPA, an employer is no longer required to send a copy of their work rules or amendments to work rules to the Director General of the Labor Protection Office or a designee. However, the employer is required to:
- Announce the implementation of the work rules within 15 days from the date on which the employer has ten or more employees, or amended work rules;
- Keep work rules or amendments to work rules on the premises or at their office at all times; and
- Openly post work rules or amendments at the employees’ workplace (the employer may also post the work rules or amendments in electronic format for ease of access and review by employees).
- Retirement in accordance with an agreement between the employer and employee, or as prescribed by the employer, will be deemed as termination of employment.
- In the event there is no agreement or stipulation on retirement in place, or such agreement or stipulation sets out a retirement age that exceeds 60 years of age, an employee who reaches age 60 is entitled to exercise their right of retirement by informing their employer of their intention to retire. The retirement will take effect 30 days from the date on which the employee expressed their intention, and the employer must pay statutory severance to the retiring employee.
- Penalties are increased for certain offenses, including those related to child labor protection.
The new provisions are likely to take effect in the very near future; employers should monitor developments for the effective date, and may wish to review their existing policies for compliance in advance.