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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government urged to investigate forced unemployment claims

Jack Burton

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A Thai labour rights group is urging the government to investigate whether some employers are abusing labour laws to avoid paying their workers during the Covid-19 crisis. The call was made during an online seminar on unemployment related to the outbreak.

Some businesses are allegedly requiring their employees to seek unemployment compensation from the Social Security Fund, when they should have continued paying their wages as required by Section 75 of the labour law.

Before the Labour Ministry classified the pandemic as a “force majeure,” some business operators who had furloughed their staff agreed to pay 75% of their salaries. But when the outbreak was declared a “force majeure,” those businesses reportedly asked their workers to seek unemployment compensation from the SSF, at 62% of their daily wage capped at 500 baht per day, or 15,000 per month.

Human rights lawyer Charit Meesit says the Labour Ministry should investigate those unemployment claims, and says new legislation is needed to take care of workers during times of crisis.

Pornnarai Tuiyakhai, a lawyer specialising in labour disputes, says some businesses have exploited the situation to lay off workers without giving severance pay.

“There has also been confusion as to what employers can do, whether they can reduce wages or furlough workers without saying when they will get back to work.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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