Workers’ rights group calls for “special leave” for Covid-19 patients

PHOTO: Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration

An employee rights group says the government should create “special leave” for workers recovering from Covid-19. Suthasinee Kaewleklai from the Migrant Workers Rights Network says that currently, employers are deducting the time from annual leave and sick leave. With leave entitlements maxing out at 30 days, many workers find all their time off is being used up on Covid-19.

“Once an infection is confirmed, a worker will need to take more time for treatment, which means after recovering, they will only have a few days left. If they fall sick from other illnesses, they won’t have enough days off to seek treatment.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, Suthasinee is also urging businesses to pay workers their full salary while they are off with Covid-19. She says many businesses are only paying a fraction of people’s full salary while they’re off work. She says the government must declare the Covid-19 recovery period as, “special leave” and ensure employees get their full salary during this time.

Suthasinee is also calling on the government to provide financial assistance to migrant workers who’ve been laid off or had their salaries cut as a result of the pandemic. The Bangkok Post reports that many migrant workers are cut-off from state assistance, including Covid-19 vaccines, as a result of language difficulties. Others have been told they can’t return to work without proof they’ve been vaccinated.

Suthasinee says migrant workers are vital to the Thai economy and should be eligible for free vaccination and the same relief packages and co-payment subsidies that Thais can access.

“Migrant workers play a part in making our economy prosper. They pay taxes and so they are entitled to the labour rights.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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