Thai House rejects labour bill fearing 30% cost surge

Photo courtesy of Nutthawat Wichieanbut

A labour welfare bill proposed by the Move Forward Party (MFP) has been rejected by the House of Representatives, sparking concerns about a potential 30% increase in labour costs across Thailand. Despite this setback, the MFP had some success as the House consented to two additional draft bills, one from the Bhumjaithai Party and another from the MFP.

List-MP Sia Jampathong from the MFP, who penned the rejected draft, expressed his disappointment with the House’s decision. His bill was designed to improve working conditions and promote a healthier work-life balance for all employees. The MFP has criticised the government coalition parties for allegedly blocking any bill suggested by the main opposition party.

Contrary to these accusations, Chanin Rungtanakiat, a Pheu Thai Party list-MP and deputy spokesman for the party, revealed that another labour welfare bill presented by the MFP was passed just yesterday. This bill, along with another proposed by Worasit Liangprasit of the Bhumjaithai Party, gained approval during its first reading.

The rejected bill from Sia Jampathong only secured 149 votes in support, with 252 MPs opposing it due to concerns over potential damage to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Chanin Rungtanakiat explained that if the bill were to become law, labour costs could surge by up to 30%, potentially causing harmful economic effects on SMEs.

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Sia’s draft demanded employers to employ workers under monthly contracts, paying them at least the minimum wage, and providing the same benefits offered to permanent employees. The draft also suggested a limit on maximum working hours to 40 hours per week for all jobs, excluding those classified as dangerous.

In contrast, the Bhumjaithai MP’s draft bill requires employers to provide full pay to workers on paternal leave for a maximum of 49 days out of a total of 98 days and also grants paternity leave rights to male employees, reported Bangkok Post.

The additional MFP bill, proposed by list-MP Wanvipa Maison, seeks to extend the maximum number of paternity leave days from the current 98 to 180, and demands employers pay workers on paternity leave for a minimum of 90 days.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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