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Basic Employment Laws

          It is important for foreigners setting up a business in Thailand , managing one or working for one to familiarise themselves with the Kingdom’s basic business laws.

           Here are some of the key points to bear in mind. It would also be wise to keep a comprehensive copy of employment laws at hand in the event a situation or dispute arises.

Working hours:

           In general, the working day should not exceed 8 hours per day and should not exceed 48 hours per week.

        The exception to this is for those employees working in an environment that is prescribed by Ministerial Regulations as being potentially harmful to their health or safety. These employees should not exceed 7 hours work per day or more than 42 hours per week.

Rest periods:

         Employees must be given a rest period of at least one hour during their working day. It is possible to divide this rest period throughout the day, but if so each break should not be less than 20 minutes.

An exception to this rule is for those whose work necessitates the need for continuous performance, or where such a stoppage adversely affects the operation, or such work is urgent. In these cases, with the agreement of the employee, no rest period will be taken.


         An employee is entitled to at least one day off per week. The interval between weekly holidays shall be no longer than 6 days

       The specific day for weekly holiday can be agreed in advance between the employee and employer.

       There are exceptions to this rule for those working in the hotel, transport, and forestry sectors as well as those working in remote areas or other work prescribed in Ministerial Regulations. In these instances, with an agreement between employer and employee, weekly holidays can be accumulated and taken at a later time, but over no longer a period than 4 consecutive weeks.

National holidays:

         An employee is entitled to not less than 13 days national holiday per annum and when a national holiday falls on a weekend the following working day shall be granted as a holiday. Basic pay shall be given for these holidays

Annual vacation:

         Any employee who has worked continuously for 1 full year is entitled to an annual vacation of not less than six working days. They are also entitled to full basic pay during this vacation.

         Any employer can grant an annual vacation on a pro-rata basis for any employee who has worked for less than one year.

Sick Leave:

         An employee is allowed 30 working days per annum sick leave with full pay.

Maternity leave:

        Pregnant female employees are entitled to no more than 90-days for each pregnancy. This includes holidays during the maternity leave. Basic pay shall be given during this leave but will not exceed 45 days.

Other types of leave:

       There are laws relating to other types of leave such as sterilization leave, personal business leave, training leave and military service leave. These all have clearly stated rules that the employee must follow.

Severance Pay:

       If an employee has their employment terminated through no fault of their own (downturn in business, use of technology etc.) then they are eligible for severance pay at the most recent rate of basic pay currently being received.


        An employer is within their rights to instantly dismiss an employee without notice or any severance pay for a variety of reasons. These include:

Laws should be adhered to:

        It is important that both employer and employees understand the basic employment laws and abide by them. But, to use an analogy: A happy ship is an efficient ship.

        Keep your employees happy, make it clear to everyone who is boss and treat colleagues as you would expect to be treated. By achieving this balance, it will surely produce a more productive working environment and encourage everyone to go that extra mile for the good of the company.

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