Thailand Strengthens Child Labour Laws

On 23 February 2017, the liabilities and penalties for violations of child labour provisions were increased under the Labour Protection Act (No.5) B.E. 2560 (2017) (the “Amendment”).

The Amendment is aimed at preventing the exploitation of child labour by creating additional liability for employers, which is defined as any person – including an authorized person acting on behalf of a company – who agrees to hire a child to work and pay them wages.

As a consequence, under Section 148/1 of the Amendment, an employer who fails to comply with the following provisions will be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years and/or a fine of Baht 400,000 – 800,000 per employee:

     I. Hiring underage employees:

The minimum age for general work, agriculture work and work performed at home, including work that is hazardous to health and safety is 15, while the minimum age for marine/fishing work is 18.

    II. Hiring minors aged under 18 to work in hazardous jobs:

The employer is prohibited from hiring young workers aged under 18 to work in the following areas:

  1. Metal smelting, blowing, casting, forging, or pressing;
  2. Work involving hazardous chemicals, toxic materials, explosives, or inflammable materials;
  3. Work involving conditions of heat, cold, vibration, sound and abnormal lighting which may be harmful;
  4. Work involving microorganisms which includes viruses, bacteria, or fungi;
  5. Driving or controlling hoists or cranes;
  6. Work involving electrically or mechanically operated saws;
  7. Work which must be performed underground, underwater, in caverns, tunnels, or in craters of mountains;
  8. Work involving radioactivity;
  9. Machine or engine cleaning while the machines or engines are in operation; or
  10. Work on scaffolding which is at least 10 meters above the ground.

    III. Hiring minors aged under 18 to work in hazardous workplaces: 

The Amendment also prescribes the places that minors aged under 18 are not allowed to work, e.g., slaughterhouses, gambling houses, entertainment places, aquaculture establishments, or aquaculture processing plants.

Moreover, pursuant to Section 148/2 of the Amendment, if an employer who hires a minor aged under 18 in a hazardous occupation or workplace causes the young worker to be physically or mentally injured or die, the employer will be subject to imprisonment for up to 4 years and/or a fine of Baht 800,000 – 2,000,000 per employee.