Guide to Hiring in Thailand

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Guide to Hiring in Thailand

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Thailand offers a compelling business environment with a diligent, adaptable workforce and competitive labour costs. Its strategic location in Southeast Asia provides access to a growing consumer market, and the government actively supports business growth and foreign investment. This combination of skilled labour, cost-effectiveness, and a favourable business climate makes Thailand an ideal destination for hiring and launching ventures. Explore our guide for essential insights into hiring in Thailand.

*Please note that all the information listed below are to be used as a general guideline. For more detailed accounts of Thailand employment laws and regulations, please visit the official governmental websites.

Labour Law – Basics

What are the basic requirements for employers in Thailand?

  • Labour Legislations

Employers in Thailand must be aware of key labour laws in Thailand and remain compliant with these laws.

The main labour legislations are the:

    • Labour Protection Act B.E 2541 (1998)
    • Labour Protection Act B.E 2541 (1998) and Thai Civil and Commercial Code (CCC)
    • Social Security Act B.E. 2533 (1990)
    • Workmen’s Compensation Act B.E. 2537 (1994)
  • Other legislations that are used to supplement the major laws include:
    • Labour Relations Act B.E 2518 (1975)
    • The Labour Court and Labour Court Procedure B.E. 2522 (1979)
    • Employment And Job Seeker Protection Act B.E. 2528 (1985)
    • Skill Development Promotion Act B.E. 2545 (2002)
    • Alien (Expat) Employment ACT B.E. 2521 (1978)
    • Personal Data Protection Act (New effective Date 1 June 2022).
    • And other related regulations or notifications from the Government
  • Social Security Fund Contributions

Employers are to register their employees with the Social Security Fund (SSF). Those contributing to the SSF are:

    • The government
    • The employer
    • The employee

Both employers and employees are required to contribute 5% of the employee’s income – capped at THB750.00.

Late payments will incur a 2% surcharge of the amount due each month.

The funds from the SSF can be used to cover:

    • Sickness
    • Maternity
    • Child allowance
    • Invalidity
    • Unemployment
    • Old age pension at 55
    • Death
  • Workmen’s Compensation

This is an annual contribution that must be made by employers before the 31st of January every year. Contribution rates range between 0.2% – 1%. Funds from these contributions are used to cover sickness, invalidity and death.

  • Provident Fund

Provident Fund contributions are not mandatory – but employers and employees can voluntarily make these contributions. Both employers and employees can contribute between 2% – 15%, but the employer has to give an equal or higher contribution than the employee.

Employers and employees who wish to contribute to the provident fund must register with The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

  • Requirements for Hiring Foreign Employees

Companies that want to employ foreign workers in Thailand must fulfill the following:

    • Company must be officially registered in Thailand.
    • The ratio of employees must be 4 local employees to 1 foreign employee.
    • The business must have a tax ID and value-added tax (VAT) registration.
    • The minimum salary for foreign employees must be per the Order of Royal Thai Police No.327/2557.
    • Companies with a Thai majority ownership must have a minimum paid-up capital of THB 2 million for each foreign employee.
    • Companies with a foreign majority ownership must have a minimum paid-up capital of THB 3 million for each foreign employee.
  • Timesheet and Record Keeping

Employers who have 10 or more employees must maintain employee records in the Thai language. These records must be kept for at least 2 years after an employee leaves the company. The records should typically contain the following information of each employee:

    • Name, surname and gender
    • Nationality
    • Date of birth and age
    • Address
    • Start date of employment
    • Position and duties
    • Wages and other benefits
    • Date of termination (if applicable)

 

  • Work Rules

Employers with more than 10 staff must also come up with a list of work rules in the Thai language. The work rules must be announced within 15 days of hiring 10 or more employees.

The work rules should at least cover the following:

    • working days, normal working time and rest periods.
    • holidays and rules of taking holidays.
    • rules governing overtime and holiday work.
    • the date and place of payment of wages, overtime pay, holiday pay and holiday overtime pay.
    • leave and rules of taking leave
    • discipline and disciplinary measures.
    • lodging of grievances, and
    • termination of employment, severance pay and special severance pay.

What are the different work permits and visas in Thailand?

 In Thailand, the terms ‘work permit’ and ‘work visa’ are not used interchangeably – and those wanting to work in Thailand will require both.

A person who lives outside of Thailand will first have to apply for a work visa in the Thai embassy in their home country. This will allow them to travel to Thailand for employment purposes. Once the person is in Thailand, they can then apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Labour. Without this permit, a non-Thai citizen cannot legally work or start a business in Thailand.

The types of work visas are available are:

Work VisaDescription
Non-immigrant B Visa (Business Visa)
  • the most common type of work visa that is issued to those who want to work/start a business in Thailand.
  • applicants will first be given a 90-day visa. Once the work permit is approved, applicants can apply for a one-year visa.
Non-immigrant B-A Visa (Business Approved Visa)
  • usually granted to those who invest in a business in Thailand.
  • valid for 1 year.
Non-immigrant IB visa (Investment and Business Visa)
  • only for foreigners who intend to work for companies or projects under the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI)’s promotion.
Non-immigrant M visa (Media Visa)
  • for those planning to work in the media industry
  • approvals from the relevant authorities may be needed depending on the type of work
Non-immigrant O Visa (Accompanying Family Members)
  • for family members who accompany an individual working in Thailand.
  • also granted to foreign nationals involved in volunteer work, those married to Thai citizens, and retirees.
Smart Visa
  • new visa category for foreign professional talents who possess certain skills and experience, foreign investors and startup entrepreneurs, executives.
  • the visa can also be granted to family members of the Smart Visa holders.
  • Smart Visa holders are allowed to stay in Thailand for 4 years.

In order to apply for a work visa, the following documents are usually required:

  • Original passport with at least 6 months of validity,
  • Visa application form,
  • A job offer from a company in Thailand,
  • Employment contract,
  • Letter of invitation from the hiring company,
  • Additional documents that may be required by the embassy or the consulate.

After the relevant work visa is obtained, a foreigner has 90 days to complete the work permit application process. The work permit approval timeframe would depend on where an application is made. For instance, in Bangkok, the entire process could take 7-10 business days, while in Phuket, it could take as long as 2 months.

What to remember when hiring new employees?

  • Employment Contracts

Labour law contracts in Thailand can be either fixed-term or non-fixed term (permanent).

Fixed-term contracts:

    • have no minimum number of years for the contract period.
    • have no maximum number of frequencies.
    • entitle employees to severance payments when the contract ends – subject to certain conditions.

Fixed-term employment contracts can only be used for certain types of work, such as:

    • special projects which are not usual for the business or trade of the employer, and where the schedule for commencement and completion of work is fixed;
    • work of a temporary nature which has a fixed schedule for its commencement and completion; or
    • seasonal work where employment is only for a particular season.

All the work types above must be completed within 2 years to align with the maximum length for fixed-term employment contracts. Employers must terminate the contract within the specified fixed period, and any extension will preclude the contract from being considered a fixed-term employment contract.

Non-fixed term contracts:

    • do not state the last day of employment
    • do not provide for severance payments if the employee voluntarily resigns – only if the employer terminates the employee.

Thailand labour law permits employment contracts that are either written or verbal for both fixed-term and permanent employment. However, businesses are encouraged to prepare written contracts for their employees.

In terms of language, it is advisable for contracts to be in dual language (Thai and English). This is especially important in the event of a legal dispute.

What are the different discrimination laws in Thailand?

  • Thailand Gender Equality Act 2015 which protects individuals against discrimination due to gender expression.
  • Constitution of Thailand which prohibits discrimination on 12 grounds, including gender
  • Labour Protection Act which grants protection for private sector workers, guaranteeing equal treatment for male and female workers – with certain exceptions.
  • Ministry of Labour’s Regulation on Thai Labour Standards, Social Responsibility of Thai Businesses which prohibits discrimination on various grounds such as nationality, race, religion, age, sex and marital status.
  • Promotion and Development of Quality of Life of Persons with Disabilities Act that defines quotas for hiring workers with disabilities on public and private sector employers.
  • 2011 Ministerial Regulation issued under the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Act, which requires employers to hire persons with disabilities (PWD) in a ratio of 1 PWD to every 100 other employees. Employers who fail to do this must pay an annual donation to the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons Fund equal to the minimum wage a worker with disabilities would have been paid.

 

What are the working hours in Thailand?

Under Thai labour law, working hours are capped at 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week. For some types of work, employers and employees can negotiate the daily hours of work, but the total number of hours should not exceed 48 hours a week.

Regarding hazardous work, employees should not work more than 7 hours a day and 42 hours a week.

If an employee works more than the fixed hours due to a specific agreement or if a regulation permits it, that employee is entitled to overtime compensation. Overtime is typically paid at the following rates:

    • Overtime on a typical workday – 150% of the employee’s daily/monthly wage.
    • Overtime of up to 8 hours of work during a holiday or day off – 200% of the employee’s daily wage/100% of the employee’s monthly wage.
    • Additional hours worked during a holiday or day off – 300% of the employee’s daily/monthly wage. The employe is entitled to 300% if they have completed 8 hours of work.

    Overtime hours are capped at 36 hours per week.

 

What is the legal probation period in Thailand?

There is no minimum statutory probation period in Thailand, but the maximum should not exceed 119 days (3 months).

Once an employee has worked for 120 days, they must be given one month’s notice and will be entitled to severance pay.

 

What are the minimum wage requirements in Thailand?

The minimum wage in Thailand varies between different regions. The current rates are as follows:

RegionDaily Minimum Wage
Chon-Buri, Phuket and RayongTHB 354.00
Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Patum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakon Pathom, Samut SakhonTHB 353.00
ChachoengsaoTHB 345.00
AyutthayaTHB 343.00

 

What to note for existing employees?

  • 13th Month Pay

There is no statutory obligation for employers to provide 13th month salaries, but many employers across Thailand do provide the 13th month pay/year-end bonuses.

  • Monthly Payday

Employers are advised to clearly state the monthly pay day in the employment contract. According to Section 70 of Thailand’s Labour Protection Act, wages must be paid on time each month. Employees can raise disputes in the Labour Court if an employer fails to meet this requirement.

  • Personal Income Tax

Thailand follows a progressive income tax system that is applicable to both residents and non-residents alike.

Taxable income per yearTax rate
0 – 150,000 THBFully exempted
150,000 – 300,000 THB5%
300,000 – 500,000 THB10%
500,000 – 750,000 THB15%
750,000 – 1,000,000 THB20%
1,000,000 – 2,000,000 THB25%
2,000,000 – 5,000,000 THB30%
Over 5,000,000 THB35%

Thailand’s tax year runs from January through December.

Termination of Employment – Separation Pay & Long Service Payment

Below is a summary of how severance payment in Thailand is made, depending on the type of contract the employee is on.

Employment Contract TypeWhen Severance is applicableNotice Period: Notice in-LieuSeverance Payment
Fixed-term contractWhen the contract endsNo requirement for an advance noticeBased on years of service (Section 118 of the LPA)
Permanent (non-fixed)When the employer terminates the contractEither employer or employee must give notice – a minimum of 30 days – maximum of 90 days if an exact amount is not stated in the contract.Not required if an employee resigns. Only required if the employer terminates the contract.
Is based on years of service (Section 118 of the LPA).

In the event an employer must permanently terminate or temporarily suspend operations of the entire business:

Permanent business terminationTemporary business suspension
Notice must be given to the employee 30 days before the business is closedNotice must be given to the employee and Labour Inspector 3 days before the business is suspended
Severance payment would be based on years of service (Section 118 of the LPA)Employees must be paid 75% of regular wages until business resumes as usual

As for the amount of payment received, that would depend on the years of service as well as which of these 4 situations it comes under:

  • Section 118 of the LPA – Without a cause/reason
  • Section 120 of the LPA – Employer relocates the place of business to another place
  • Section 121 of the LPA – Change of machinery or technology which causes a reduction of the number of employees/ redundancy
  • Section 122 – Employer terminates the employment of an Employee under Section 121 + the employee has over 7 years of service

What is the retirement age in Thailand?

The retirement age in Thailand currently stands at 60. If a company sets a retirement age higher than 60, the employee may still retire at 60. Even if an employment contract does not expressly state the retirement age, the retirement age is still 60.

Employment dispute channels

Thailand has its own Labour Court that was founded in 1979 to hear cases related to employment, such as labour protection, unfair labour practices or discrimination, and industrial relations.

The first course of action should be mediation – where the parties attempt to settle their disputes out of court. If that option is unsuccessful, then the case can be heard in the Labour Court.

Is employment insurance compulsory in Thailand?

Employees who contribute to the Social Security Fund can receive the following:

 

  • Life – Death Benefits: If an insured person dies without a work-related injury or sickness and has paid contributions for at least one month during the six months before death, compensation benefits are provided. These benefits include a funeral allowance of THB 50,000 and a survivors’ allowance to the designated beneficiary.

 

  • Disability Benefits (Invalidity Benefits): Insured individuals are entitled to compensation for non-occupational disabilities if they have paid contributions for at least 3 months within 15 months before becoming disabled. The benefits cover various medical expenses, rehabilitation, and necessary costs.

 

  • Medical Treatment Benefits: Insured individuals are entitled to non-occupational injury or sickness compensation benefits if they have paid contributions for at least 3 months within 15 months before receiving medical services. The benefits cover medical examination, treatment, lodging, medicine, ambulance costs, and other necessary expenses.

 

  • Maternity Benefits: Insured individuals are entitled to compensation benefits for childbirth for themselves, their spouse, or cohabitating women (recognized as wives according to regulations). They must have paid contributions for at least 5 months within 15 months before receiving medical services.

 

  • Child Allowance: Insured parents who have paid contributions for at least 12 months within 36 months before the month of entitlement receive a monthly child allowance of 600 baht per child for a maximum of three children.

 

  • Old Age Benefits: Insured individuals aged 55 or older, having paid contributions for at least 180 months, are entitled to an old-age pension based on the percentage of monthly wages and periods of contribution.

 

  • Unemployment Benefits: Insured employees who have paid contributions for at least 6 months within 15 months before unemployment may be eligible for compensation benefits if they meet certain conditions, such as actively seeking work, not being entitled to an old-age pension, and not being unemployed due to misconduct or criminal offenses.

Labour Law - Leave

In Thailand, employees are granted a minimum of 6 days of annual leave after completing one full year of consecutive work, which can be taken either consecutively or in separate periods. For employees who have not completed a full year of service, the employer may offer annual leave on a prorated basis.

Furthermore, there is an option to accumulate and carry forward unused annual leave to the following year, subject to mutual agreement between the employer and the employee.

In addition to annual leave, employees are also entitled to 3 days of personal business leave. This leave is to remain separate from annual leave and cannot be deducted from the annual leave.

According to Thai labour law, employees have the right to take up to 30 paid working days of annual sick leave per year. If an employee is absent for three or more consecutive days due to illness, the employer has the authority to ask for a medical certificate as proof of the sickness.

Female employees in Thailand can take up to 98 days of maternity leave. Of that, 90 days are paid leave – 45 of which are covered by the company, and the remaining 45 are covered by the Social Security Office (SSO).

Mothers who are insured under the Social Security are also eligible for other benefits such as:

  • a lump-sum payment of THB 15,000 per birth (upon the birth of a child).
  • a cash benefit of 50% of wages (for wages up to THB 15,000 per month) for up to 90 days; this benefit is only available for the first two deliveries.

As of June 2023, male employees in Thailand’s government sector are eligible for 15 days of paid paternity leave. However, paid paternity leave is not mandatory for the private sector. Private sector employers can still offer paid paternity leave to their employees if they choose to.

Employees in all sectors and regions of Thailand are entitled to 13 statutory paid holidays in a year. Additional holidays are applicable to certain sectors and regions. For the full list of statutory paid holidays, refer to the ‘What are the public holidays in Thailand?’ section.

Employees in Thailand are entitled to at least one day of rest per week, and the interval between each rest day should not be more than 6 days.

Unless the employee is someone who receives an hourly wage, daily wage or wages given for a single piece of work, the employee should receive full pay for the off day.

What are the 2024 public holidays in Thailand?

Thailand Public Holidays 2024

HolidayDate
New Year1 Jan
New Year Substitution Holiday2 Jan
Chinese New Year (for Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only)10 Feb
Makha Bucha Day Holiday26 Feb
Chakri Day Holiday8 Apr
End of Ramadan (for Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only)10 Apr
Songkran Festival15 Apr – 16 Apr
Labour Day (for private sector only)1 May
Coronation of King Vajiralongkorn Holiday6 May
Royal Ploughing Ceremony (for government sector only)6 May
Visakha Bucha Holiday22 May
Queen Suthida’s Birthday3 Jun
Asarnha Bucha Holiday22 Jul
Khao Phansa Day (for government sector only)23 Jul
King Vajiralongkorn’s Birthday Holiday29 Jul
Her Majesty the Queen Mother’s Birthday12 Aug
Passing of His Majesty the Late King Holiday14 Oct
Chulalongkorn Memorial Day23 Oct
His Majesty the Late King’s Birthday5 Dec
Constitution Day10 Dec
Christmas Day (for Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only)25 Dec
New Year Eve31 Dec

 

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*Please note that all the information listed above are to be used as a general guideline. For more detailed accounts of Thailand employment laws and regulations, please visit the official governmental websites.

Interested to explore the idea of payroll outsourcing, EOR, or Visa application services?

Links International is a leading payroll outsourcing provider across Asia Pacific and supports payroll in over 20 locations. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Relevant Links:

  • Work Permits and Visas
    • How To Get a Work Permit in Thailand – https://www.thaiembassy.com/legal/the-complete-guide-to-obtaining-work-permit-in-thailand
  • What To Note For Existing Employees –
    • Income Tax Rates – chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.rd.go.th/fileadmin/user_upload/AEC/AseanTax-Thailand.pdf
  • Employment Dispute Channels
    • Thailand Labor Court: https://www.thailandcourt.com/the-labor-court-in-thailand/