COVID-19 continues to be a shadow looming over businesses and workers in Thailand. The subsequent lockdown measures that came as a result of the outbreak has left many workers in a tight spot and many businesses in an unproductive state. During this difficult time, the Thai Ministry of Labour has announced a number of compensation benefits schemes for employers and employees registered with the Social Security Fund (SSF) who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The key points of these benefits schemes as they apply to three different scenarios are summarised below:
Scenario 1 – Employees Under Quarantine
Employees that are required to undergo a period of quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, irrespective of whether such quarantine is legally mandated or required by the employer, and during which the employee is not paid, then said employee will receive compensation benefits from the SSF for up to 90 days in an amount equal to 62 percent of their daily salary. This compensation is subject to an eligible monthly salary cap of THB15,000 (Approximately US$470).
Despite being announced fairly recently, these compensation benefits are available up to a maximum period of 90 days from any day beginning 1 March 2020 until 31 August 2020, unless otherwise extended or notified by the Minister of Labour.
In order to qualify to receive compensation benefits under Scenario 1, an employee must furnish to the SSF a certificate from their employer which confirms the existence of an event of unforeseeable circumstance.
Scenario 2 – Business Interruption or Closure
If employees are unable to continue working due to a COVID-19 related temporary business suspension, irrespective of whether such suspension is required by a government order or determined by the business operator itself, and the employees remain unpaid during this period, the employees will receive compensation benefits from the SSF in an amount equal to 62 percent of their daily salary during such business suspension for up to 90 days.
Scenario 3 – Termination of Employment
Should an employee’s employment be terminated by and employer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, either as a result of business interruption, closure, and/or otherwise, and during such a period the employee is not paid, the employee will receive compensation benefits from the SSF in an amount equal to 70 percent of their daily salary for a period of up to 200 days. The employer will also be entitled to receive from the employer payment in lieu of advance notice, severance payment at the rate specified under Thai employment lay, payment in lieu of unused annual leave, and other outstanding sums due and payable, such as amounts due for periods of overtime.
Should an employee resign or their employment contract expires without being renewed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employee will receive compensation benefits from SSF in an amount equal to 45 percent of their of their daily salary for up to 90 days.