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.
Employers in Thailand must be aware of key labour laws in Thailand and remain compliant with these laws.
The main labour legislations are the:
Employers are to register their employees with the Social Security Fund (SSF). Those contributing to the SSF are:
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:
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 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).
Companies that want to employ foreign workers in Thailand must fulfill the following:
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:
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:
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:
|Non-immigrant B Visa (Business Visa)
|Non-immigrant B-A Visa (Business Approved Visa)
|Non-immigrant IB visa (Investment and Business Visa)
|Non-immigrant M visa (Media Visa)
|Non-immigrant O Visa (Accompanying Family Members)
In order to apply for a work visa, the following documents are usually required:
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.
Labour law contracts in Thailand can be either fixed-term or non-fixed term (permanent).
Fixed-term employment contracts can only be used for certain types of work, such as:
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:
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.
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 hours are capped at 36 hours per week.
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.
The minimum wage in Thailand varies between different regions. The current rates are as follows:
|Daily Minimum Wage
|Chon-Buri, Phuket and Rayong
|Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Patum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakon Pathom, Samut Sakhon
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.
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.
Thailand follows a progressive income tax system that is applicable to both residents and non-residents alike.
|Taxable income per year
|0 – 150,000 THB
|150,000 – 300,000 THB
|300,000 – 500,000 THB
|500,000 – 750,000 THB
|750,000 – 1,000,000 THB
|1,000,000 – 2,000,000 THB
|2,000,000 – 5,000,000 THB
|Over 5,000,000 THB
Thailand’s tax year runs from January through December.
Below is a summary of how severance payment in Thailand is made, depending on the type of contract the employee is on.
|Employment Contract Type
|When Severance is applicable
|Notice Period: Notice in-Lieu
|When the contract ends
|No requirement for an advance notice
|Based on years of service (Section 118 of the LPA)
|When the employer terminates the contract
|Either 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 termination
|Temporary business suspension
|Notice must be given to the employee 30 days before the business is closed
|Notice 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:
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.
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.
Employees who contribute to the Social Security Fund can receive the following:
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:
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.
|New Year Substitution Holiday
|Chinese New Year (for Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only)
|Makha Bucha Day Holiday
|Chakri Day Holiday
|End of Ramadan (for Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only)
|15 Apr – 16 Apr
|Labour Day (for private sector only)
|Coronation of King Vajiralongkorn Holiday
|Royal Ploughing Ceremony (for government sector only)
|Visakha Bucha Holiday
|Queen Suthida’s Birthday
|Asarnha Bucha Holiday
|Khao Phansa Day (for government sector only)
|King Vajiralongkorn’s Birthday Holiday
|Her Majesty the Queen Mother’s Birthday
|Passing of His Majesty the Late King Holiday
|Chulalongkorn Memorial Day
|His Majesty the Late King’s Birthday
|Christmas Day (for Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only)
|New Year Eve
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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.
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.