Following months of speculation, Thailand’s Labour Protection Act (LPA), the main law governing employer-employee relations in Thailand, was amended on December 13, 2018. The changes are pro-employee and some of the more material ones are as follows:
- New Severance Pay Band. The LPA provides severance pay for employees terminated without cause or who voluntarily retire at 60 depending on their length of service. The amendments introduce a new severance pay band equal to 400 days basic pay for employees who have worked for at least 20 years. Prior to the amendments, the highest severance pay band was 300 days’ basic pay for employees who worked for at least 10 years.
- Longer Maternity Leave. Before the amendments, women were entitled to 90 days’ maternity leave, consisting of 45 days paid leave and 45 days unpaid leave. Under the amendments, women will be entitled to an additional eight days of unpaid leave and may apply a portion of their leave towards pre-natal exams.
- Paid Business Leave. Under the amendments employees will be granted three days of paid “necessary business leave” per year.
- Transfers. Employees will have broader consent rights with respect to transfers (i.e. a move from one employer to another as opposed to a physical relocation with an existing employer). Prior to the amendments, employees did not need to consent to transfers from one employer to another that did not require a physical relocation, such as in connection with an amalgamation. Under the amendments, employee consent is now required for any transfer, even if no physical relocation is involved, and employees who do not consent will be entitled to terminate their employment with severance.
The amendments will become effective 30 days after publication in the Government Gazette, which is expected to be in early 2019.