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Thailand Drafts Labour Act to Protect Independent Workers

The post-Covid era has seen an increased number of employees in Thailand leave their paid employment positions to take up roles as independent or quasi-independent workers.  Under Thai law, employment agreements are governed under the Labor Standards Act, while service agreements are covered by the Civil and Commercial Code. 

The newly drafted Independent Workers Protection Act proposes several key elements to protect this labour sector, including:

  • The characteristics which must be included in an agreement between a company and an independent worker, such as hiring dates, work objectives, and dispute resolution.

  • The proposal for disputes which arise between a hirer and the independent worker to be handled within the labour courts

  • A contribution fund to promote the well-being of independent workers, jointly funded by the worker and the hirer

  • The ability for small groups of independent workers to form into ‘worker groups’, which can form a larger ‘worker organisation’ which is able to negotiate on behalf of its members.

Outlook for Employers: The old saying ‘necessity is the motherhood of invention’ has never been truer than in the ongoing development of the gig labour market.  While this new legislation is only in draft form and many months away from finalisation, it heralds a significant change to the labour rights of contract workers in Thailand, particularly with the prospect of bargaining group formation. 

Published on: January 9, 2023

Authors: Michelle Swinden

Topics: China, Japan & Asia-Pacific

Michelle Swinden

Executive Director, Asia-Pacific, HR Policy Global

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Contact Michelle Swinden LinkedIn

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