The major legislation governing labor law in Thailand is the Labor Protection Act (the “LPA”). The LPA prescribes labor protection standards applicable to both employers and employees working in Thailand. And it was amended on 4 April 2019 (the “Amendment”) and became effective 30 days after its publication. Among other things, the Amendment prescribes new requirements regarding employee leave. In the following we summarize the new mandatory employee leave requirements.
Unchanged remain the regulations governing leave that the employee is entitled to on a weekly basis. The employee must be given at least one day of leave per week. However, in the event that the business that the employee is working for is a hotel, the employer and the employee may agree that the employee may accumulate and postpone his weekly leave days within a period of four consecutive weeks to be taken at any time later.
An employee who has worked for an uninterrupted period of one year must be given at least six working days of personal annual leave per year thereafter.
In addition to such personal annual leave, an employee must be given leave on not be less than thirteen national holidays per year. However, in the event that the business that the employee is working for is a hotel, entertainment establishment, beverage shop, food shop, or similar, the employer and the employee may agree that the employee will take leave on an alternative day(s) to substitute for the official holiday(s) but the higher requisite “holiday wages” applicable on official holidays must be paid to the employee for his work on any such substitution work day(s). However, and in any event, an employer must obtain an employee’s consent for an employee to work overtime or to work on a holiday. An exception applies in the event that the employee is working for a hotel, entertainment venue food store, club, or other similar business, in which case an employer may require an employee to work on a holiday without the employee’s prior consent.
An employee is entitled to a sick leave as long as he is actually ill. However, if an employee takes sick leave for three days or more, his employer may require the employee to present a certification of such illness from a licensed physician or an official medical establishment.
The regulations on maternity leave changed with the new Amendment. Previously, a pregnant employee is entitled to a maternity leave of up to ninety days for each pregnancy. Under the Amendment the entitlement for maternity leave has been extended to 98 days. It should be noted, however, that the employer is only required to pay the salary for up to 45 days during such maternity leave.
The employer is required to allow the employee to take up to three working days leave for “necessary business”. The employer is required to pay the employee’s salary during such business leave.
Finally, the LPA also provides many other categories of leave for the employee: for example, sterilization; military training and service, and others.
Finally, although it is not directly related to an employee’s mandatory leave, both employees and employers should note that the Amendment makes clear that an employer is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex with regard to employee wages; work of the same nature, quality, and quantity, or the work is of equivalent value, must be remunerated at same rate regardless of whether the employee is male or female.
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