At Work in Bangkok

Work Usage in Bangkok

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Working Hours in Thailand

Normal working hours should not exceed 8 hours a day, or if it does, it must not exceed 48 hours in a week. Different rules apply if you work in an area which is considered to have health and safety hazards: underground work, underwater, in a cave, in a tunnel, working with radioactive materials, metal welding work, hazardous substance transport work, hazardous chemical production work, working with an instrument or machine which could harm you through vibration, and work involving extreme hot or cold temperatures. If you fall into one of these categories then you are not permitted to work more than seven hours in any given day, or if you do your working week must not exceed 42 hours. Personal protection must also be provided for these occupations.

If you work for more than five hours a day, you are entitled to a rest break of one hour. You can choose to either take this consecutively, or to break it up over your day. If you work in a café, bar or restaurant which does not open all day or provide service continuously, then you are allowed to take a two hour break, but it would be unusual for expats to work in this type of environment unless it was a specialised venue.

Your employer may ask you to work overtime, or if you had previously arranged to take holiday. Overtime in any one given week must not exceed 36 hours. If you agree to work overtime then you are entitled to a further 20 minute break when you have remained at work for more than two hours passed your usual finishing time.

Wages in Thailand

The minimum wage rate in Bangkok is 300 baht a day. Thai salaries are not known for being high.

Thai salaries must be paid in Thai currency (versus through goods or trade) and must not be less than the minimum wage rate. Salaries can only be paid in foreign currency if there has been prior written consent between you and your employer. Salaries must be paid at least once a month. If your employment is terminated, then your final salary must be paid within 3 days from the date it was terminated.

Equal pay laws exist in Thailand. Males and females working in the same job in terms of its nature and hours must be paid the same salary.

Deductions and Additional Pay

Deductions cannot be made from wages in Thailand unless they are for income tax, union fees, debts owed to a savings cooperative, if it represents damage or compensation for damage caused by you as long as you have consented to such a deduction in writing, or as contributions to a provident fund.

If your normal working time exceeds eight hours a day, you are entitled to overtime of 1.5 times your usual hourly salary. However, in reality it would take a brave employee to insist their employer paid this additional amount!

An employer must pay wages for any days taken as personal or public holiday. The only exception to this rule is if you are paid hourly - then you are not entitled to weekly holiday pay. If you do not take your full holiday entitlement or if you are asked to work a day that was otherwise a holiday you are entitled to be paid in lieu of those days.

Work Contracts in Thailand

If your employer employs 10 or more people then you must be provided with a written contract of employment containing the following information (as a minimum):

  • Details of your working day
  • Details of your normal working time
  • Details of your rest periods
  • Your holiday entitlement and the rules regarding the taking of holiday
  • Your rate of remuneration and the date and method by which your wage will be paid
  • Your entitlement to overtime pay, holiday pay and holiday overtime pay
  • Rules of taking other forms of leave
  • Disciplinary measures
  • The grievance procedures
  • Your right to severance pay

Typically contracts will also include confidentiality clauses and restrictive covenants which are designed to protect your employer in the event your employment is terminated.

You should be provided with detailed information about how you can lodge a grievance and the scope of subjects about which you are permitted to lodge a grievance, the method and steps involved, how the grievance will be handled, the possible outcomes and what protection will be afforded to you and anyone else involved.

However, even if your company employs less than 10 people, it is highly advisable that you obtain a written contract of employment from your employee, that way both you and they know the terms and conditions of your employment and what is expected of you.

It is also important to ascertain who will be responsible for paying the costs of your work permit application and visa. This should be included in your contract of employment so there is no confusion when it comes to renewal.

If your employer wishes to change any of your terms and conditions of employment, this must be confirmed in writing.

Your employer is also obliged to keep minimum information about you. Your work record must contain your full name, sex, nationality, date of birth, present address, the date your employment started, your job title and duties, your salary rate and any other benefits you are entitled too, and if and when it becomes applicable, the date on which your employment was terminated.

They must also keep records and documents relating to your wages including overtime and holiday pay for a minimum of two years from the date the money was paid. If you make a complaint for whatever reason under the Labour Protection Act, or if there is any other dispute, these documents cannot be destroyed until the matter is resolved.

Termination of Employment in Thailand

Employment in Thailand may be terminated for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • Completion of agreed upon work
  • Expiration of contract and legal employment period
  • Mutual agreement reached on termination of contract
  • If your employment is transferred to a third party, without your agreement
  • In case of gross misconduct performed by you, termination by employer

Employees are entitled to severance pay once they have completed at least 120 days of employment and have not been terminated from their position for one of the following reasons:

  • Dishonestly performing duties
  • Intentionally committing an act of crime against your employer
  • Intentionally causing harm to your employer
  • Gross negligence causing serious harm to your employer
  • Violating rules at the place of employment for which a previous written warning has been provided to you
  • Neglect of your work duties for three consecutive days without any justification
  • Being sentenced to imprisonment, exceptions made for petty offenses and offenses stemming from negligent acts.

(This list is non exhaustive).

Notice must be given by either party wishing to terminate employment. Notice must be given in writing before the next date of a wage payment.

Severance pay is available to both Thai and foreign staff members that have been terminated from their positions.

Claiming Unlawful Termination in Thailand

You can issue a complaint for wrongful dismissal or unlawful termination to the Labour Relations Committee. The Committee explores the possibility of a peaceful compromise between the employer and the employee, and if settlement on the issue is impossible the committee finds probable cause against the offending party. It then makes the appropriate recommendation for the filing of a labour lawsuit.

Your employer can also order that you be suspended from work if they want to investigate an offence they believe you have committed or an allegation that has been made against you. The suspension must be confirmed in writing and must be for no more than seven days.

You are entitled to be paid 50% of your usual salary if you are suspended. If following the suspension no further action is taken against you, you must be refunded the balance of your usual salary together with interest at a rate of 50% per annum.

If, for whatever reason, your employer is forced to temporarily shut the business down they must inform both you and a Labour Inspector in advance and you must be paid 50% of your salary during this time.

Time Off in Thailand

Once you have worked for a year, you are entitled to take holidays of a minimum of six days in any one given year. More time off can be agreed upon between you and your employer. Half days are not permitted - the minimum amount of time that can be taken at once is a day. There must have been more than six working days in between each day of holiday you take, however it may be that your employer is amenable and will not enforce this requirement. Holidays can be carried over, with consent to the following year.

If you work for the hotel industry, for a transport company, in a forest, or in a location lacking basic facilities, then you and your employer can agree to postpone a holiday, to be taken at some point during the next four weeks.

If you work for the hotel industry, the entertainment industry, in a restaurant or shop, then you can agree with your employer to take a different day off in lieu, or to accept money. Unless you work for a specialized venue, it is highly unlikely this law will affect an expat.

If you are sick, you are entitled to sick leave. If you are sick for more than three consecutive days, then you must produce a medical certificate.

You are entitled to time off if you need to undertake business related to your employment, for example a trip to Immigration or the Ministry of Labour. You are entitled to time off for training if it will develop your knowledge and skills. The training scheme must be approved by the Government, and you must inform your employer at least seven days in advance and explain why it is you feel the training will benefit both you and your employer. Your employer may turn down your request if you have already taken leave for 30 days on more than three occasions already to undertake training, or if your absence will affect business operations.

Public Holidays in Thailand

Public holidays in Thailand are regulated by the government, and most are observed by both the public and private sectors. There are usually 13-16 sixteen public holidays in a year, but more may be declared by the Cabinet. The Bank of Thailand regulates bank holidays, which differ slightly from those observed by the government. Other observances, official and non-official, local and international, are observed in varying degrees throughout the country.

If a holiday falls on a weekend, one following workday is observed as a compensatory non-workday.

  • 1 January - New Year's Day
  • 25 February - Makha Bucha Day
  • 6 April - Chakri Day
  • 13 - 15 April (12-16+17 in some areas) Songkran Days
  • 1 May - Labour Day
  • 5 May - Coronation Day
  • 24 May - Visakha Bucha Day
  • 22 July - Arsaraha Bucha Day
  • 12 August - H.M. The Queen's Birthday
  • 23 October - Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
  • 5 December - H.M. The King's Birthday
  • 10 December - Constitution Day
  • 31 December - New Year's Eve

If you work for the hotel or entertainment industry, or in a restaurant or shop, then you can agree with your employer to take a different day off in lieu of a public holiday, or to accept money. Unless you work for a specialized venue, it is highly unlikely this law will affect an expat.

Update 15/09/2013


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