According to Law

16 July 2015 for August 2015 issue

Thai labor laws and working in Thailand – legally or surreptitiously

The labor law in Thailand rests upon eight major legal frameworks, beginning with the Civil and Commercial Code, Book III, Title VI, verbatim:

“TITLE VI
HIRE OF SERVICES
Section 575. A hire of services is a contract whereby a person, called the employee, agrees to render services to another person, called the employer, who agrees to pay remuneration for the duration of the services.
Section 576. The promise to pay a remuneration is implied, if, under the circumstances if cannot be expected that the services are to be rendered gratuitously.
Section 577. The employer may transfer his right to a third person with the consent of the employee.
The employee may have a third person render the services in his place with the consent of the employer.
If either party acts contrary to this provision, the other party may terminate the contract.
Section 578. If the employee either expressly or impliedly warrants special skill on his part, the absence of such skill entitles the employer to terminate the contract.
Section 579. Absence of the employee from service for a reasonable cause and during a reasonably short period does not entitle the employer to terminate the contract.
Section 580. If no time for payment of remuneration is fixed by the contract or by custom, the remuneration is payable after the services have been rendered; if fixed by periods, the remuneration is payable at the end of each period.
Section 581. If after the end of the agreed period the employee continues to render services and the employer knowing thereof does not object, the parties are presumed to have made a new contract of hire on the same terms, but either party can terminate the contract by giving notice in accordance with the following section.
Section 582. If the parties have not fixed the duration of the contract, either party can terminate it by giving notice at or before any time of payment to take effect at the following time of payment. But no more than three-month notice need be given.
The employer can, on giving such notice, immediately dispense with the services of the employee by paying him his remuneration up to the expiration of the notice.
Section 583. If the employee willfully disobeys or habitually neglects the lawful commands of his employer, absents himself for services, is guilty of gross misconduct, or otherwise acts in a manner incompatible with the due and faithful discharge of his duty, he may be dismissed by the employer without notice or compensation.
Section 584. If a hire of services is one in which the personality of the employer forms an essential part such contract is extinguished by the death of the employer.
Section 585. If a hire of services comes to an end, the employee is entitled to a certificate as to the length and nature of his services .
Section 586. If the employee has been brought from elsewhere at the expense of the employer, the employer is bound, when the hire of service comes to an end, unless otherwise provided in the contract, to pay the cost of the return journey, provided that:
(1) The contract has not been terminated or extinguished by reason of the act or fault of the employee, and
(2)The employee returns within a reasonable time to the place from which he has been brought.”

Like many provisions of the Civil and Commercial Code, and indeed some provisions of the Criminal Code, wording is generic and is not sufficient to define particular circumstances and nuances thereof. Thus the Labor Law is far more applicable and requires a cursory glance if you employee anyone. As an expatriate you probably have Thai staff dealing with other Thais, but for your own protection and in anticipation of any future personal dealings with the law, it behooves you to read both the code and the law. In addition to the labor act there is (thanks for Thailawyers.com for posting this information online) the Labour Protection Act 1998, the Labour Protection Act (No.2) 2008, “the Labour Protection Act (No.3) 2008, the Labour Relations Act 1975, the Act on Establishment of Labour Courts and Labour Court Procedures 1979, the Social Security Act 1990 and the Compensation Act 1994. The Department of Labour Protection and Welfare, under the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, is charged with implementing labour laws and performing labor inspections throughout the country.”

If you have been resident in Thailand and rather than employing people are seeking to be employed, the labor law is significantly less prominent in your life. As a prospective employee, though, you do need to appreciate local nuances and “the ropes.” The English teaching industry here is one area where “the ropes” are indeed a bit slack – depending. For example, recently a local English language teaching contractor was in desperate need of teachers and was promising commissions to anyone who could find teachers for them urgently. While Thailand has generally been requiring TEFL certification this is not always the case. Such as in this instance cited. Apparently the contractor was desperate because its back was against the wall and it had to provide manpower. There are many instances of this happening, which means that if you are willing to live under rural conditions and work in a challenging environment, then teaching may be your bag. But don’t expect the best of conditions or a warm welcoming committee. Recently one “I gotta have a job” native English spaker traveled thirteen hours by bus only to discover a disheveled program, a director who could not care less, and no schedules or teacher materials.