Thailand Labour Corner: Impacts of Covid-19 on Employment

Thailand Labour Corner: Impacts of Covid-19 on Employment

Right and Obligation for Employers and Employees

Confronting Covid-19 pandemic, both employers and employees face many new work-related challenges. Especially with its flu-like symptoms, employers have a duty to implement workplace health, safety and preventative protocols. Likewise, employees are also obligated to act with social responsibility, comply with health guidelines and work rules. This is a two-way street to control and reduce the Covid-19 chain-of-infection.

Under the Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558 (2015) (“CDA”), Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (1998) (“LPA”) and Occupation Safety, Health and Environment Act B.E. 2554 (2011) (“OSHEA”), both employers and employees should be aware of the below.

What employers should know:
• Employers are required to provide a safe and hygienic working environment, and must carry all related expenses;
• Employers must report all suspected Covid-19 infections within 3 hours upon discovery to related authorities (call “1422”);
• Employers may refer to their employment contract or exercise its managerial rights to request employee to work-from-home;
• Employers should consider special work rules for susceptible employees (i.e. older adults and immunocompromised); and
• Employers are entitled to issue a warning letter of suspension/termination to employee whom was found to violate specific work rules in relation to Covid-19 prevention protocol. For instance, if the work rules restrict traveling to high-risk countries, any action found to be in violation can be a serious ground for suspension or termination.

What employees should know:
• Comply with the health guideline and respect social responsibility. For example, imposing a 14-day self-quarantine after a trip to high-risk country as per the list set by the Ministry of Public Health and World Health Organization for the good of the public;
• Stay home and/or request to work-from-home when sick, but acting in good-faith;
• Employees are entitled to 3 days of sick leave without having to provide a medical certificate;
• Employees are also allowed 30 days of paid sick leave per year; and
• Employees may request voluntarily unpaid leave (upon employer’s discretion).

During these trying times, all must comply with the health guideline to put an end to this pandemic as soon as possible. Regardless of roles, employers and employees have duties to society as a whole. Act in good faith, observe the rules and help one another when needed.

In view of this turmoil, the Thai government is preparing multiple relief policies for both employees and employers, such as: social security contributions by the employers, Vat refund and tax incentives. We will provide further updates once the policies are in effect.


Chart Chotiphol

Counsel/Business Development

Thailand: COVID-19 Public Health Countermeasures

Communicable Diseases Law and Regulations

As of March 2020, COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) has spared across to more than 50 countries in every habitable continent with at least 105,000 confirmed cases and raising. Responding to the crisis, the Thai government have made critical efforts to quell this looming threat.

To prevent further outbreaks, public health countermeasures were implemented to reduce the chain-of-infection and spread of Covid-19, of which include restriction, containment and prevention protocols. Effective from March 1, 2020, Covid-19 has been officially classified “dangerous communicable disease” by the National Communicable Disease Committee (“NCDC”). Proceeding this, the Ministry of Public Health has issued an announcement under Communicable Diseases Act B.E. 2558 (2015) (“CDA”) effectively enforcing public health countermeasures against Covid-19 outbreaks.

CDA Need-to-Know:

At present, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Thai government have deemed that the following countries are of “high-risks”, these include: Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, India and Iran. The list is likely to grow in the coming weeks or even days.  

1). Personal Right and Responsibility

Under the CDA, it is expected that all, whether be locals or foreigners to observe social responsibility. As such, all should comply with the following:

  1. Avoid traveling to high-risk countries;
  2. Travelers arriving/returning from high-risk countries should consider a 14-day self-quarantine;
  3. Suspected infection or sign of related respiratory symptoms such as: coughs, sneezing, fever or any flu-like symptoms should be reported immediately;
  4. Follow appropriate health and hygiene guideline (i.e. regularly washes hands etc.); and
  5. Do not panic and refer to official health guideline/announcement.

2). Authorities of Health Officials

In compliance with the CDA, related authorities/officials/communicable disease control officer have the following authorities:

  1. To summon and question suspected individuals;
  2. May request health examination and quarantine specific to the disease’s incubation period (14 days for Covid-19);
  3. May enter domicile, dwelling or buildings (from sunrise to sunset or business hours) for the purpose of inspection, the inspection may continue until it is satisfied;
  4. May request to remove or destroy all suspect contaminated objects/properties;
  5. May order a temporary closure of a place of business, such as: market places, factories, theaters or educational institutions; and
  6. May request examination and quarantine those entering the Kingdom of Thailand.

Failure to comply with the order of a communicable disease control officer will result in fine, imprisonment or both.

In the absence of vaccines and antiviral drugs, public health countermeasures are of utmost important to keep Covid-19 from further spreading. The current restriction, prevention and surveillance protocols are necessary to understanding Covid-19 and ultimately halt the pandemic. The current pandemic forces society to confront many difficult challenges, many of which transcend legal, scientific or ethical implications. Although it is important to respect individual rights, but compliance is necessary to protect the public health interest as a whole.


Chart Chotiphol

Counsel/Business Development

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