Thailand amends labour law to allow Work From Home (WFH)

Key takeaway

Thailand has enacted legislation to allow for work from home for company employees.

Employers are not under a legal obligation to allow their employees to work from home.

To govern work-from-home policies, employer and employees must make an agreement.

Work-from-home agreements gather pace

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, various companies implemented work-from-home policies.

Post-COVID-19, work from home has become increasingly popular and sought after from employees.

The adoption of WFH policies has led to many notable benefits for employees, including increased productivity and a better work-life balance.

As WFH policies become more commonplace in Thailand, it is necessary to consider the laws governing the implementation of such policies.

Thailand’s Labour Protection Act, B.E. 2541 (A.D. 1998)

The vast number of governing regulations for labour rights in Thailand can be found in the Labour Protection Act B.E., 2541 (1998).

While there are various key provisions enshrined in the Labour Protection Act that protect employees’ rights, this particular article will focus on the recent amendments to the Act that came into effect on 18 April 2023.

Amendment of the Labour Protection Act, B.E. (A.D. 1998)

To encourage employers to adopt hybrid working policies, the Thai government amended the Labour Protection Act by introducing Section 23/1, a single amendment governing the ability for employees to request permission to effectively work outside of their traditional workplace.

It should be noted that while the introduction of Section 23/1 allows for hybrid working policies, it does not specifically mandate that employers must permit their employees to work from home.

To enact a work-from-home policy, the employer is required to prepare an agreement that outlines the necessary arrangements. This agreement must be completed in written form or electronic means.

The law further dictates that an agreement must establish the following points:

I. The term of the agreement;

II. Set working hours, including breaks;

III. Governance of overtime, if necessary;

IV. Scope of work; and

V. Responsibilities for the provision of supplies and equipment for conducting working activities.

Key considerations

As noted above, the employer is not under any obligation to permit their employees to work from home. Therefore, this must be a mutual decision between the employee and the employer.

To ensure the continuance of good working relations with employees, employers could begin to discuss and then implement work-from-home policies that allow for a better work-life balance, while ensuring that the company can maintain their operations.

Next steps

While the introduction of Section 23/1 is a key milestone in labour relations in Thailand, it has not resulted in any significant changes, except the creation of a framework governing work from home.

If you are considering implementing a work-from-home policy for your employees, please do not hesitate to speak to our labour and employment experts.

With business and legal experts located in both Bangkok and Phuket, WSR International are perfectly situated to assist you.

If you would like to discuss the contents of this article in further detail, please do not hesitate to reach out to the business and legal experts at WSR International.

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