COVID-19 Measures Worth Noting for Employers
The global impact of COVID-19 is undeniable. It affects the way we live and enjoy our lives. We used to be able to travel freely but with COVID-19, travel restrictions and quarantine measures has been widely enforced but these are necessary for the battle. It can be said that the tourism industry has never experienced a more severe effect than this current global pandemic and the Thai economy, heavily reliant on the tourism, is no exception to COVID-19’s detrimental impact. Attempting to roll out measures to provide relief and assistance to employees and employers as well as the public from a health and safety standpoint, the Ministry of Labour had released relief measures and below we list out some of those measures which are worth noting for employers.
Request for cooperation from employers towards the health of pregnant employees
While pregnant employees are at the same risk of COVID-19 infection as normal employees, studies suggest they may be at a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms.
To ensure health safety and to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for employees who has obtained medical certification for pregnancy, the Ministry of Labour issued an announcement asking employers to cooperate by arranging such pregnant employees to work from home or assigning them to tasks with less exposure to the risk of infection or tasks which limit contact with people or arranging for pregnant employees to stop working during the COVID-19 pandemic while still being paid wages. In addition, such period which the employers have arranged for the pregnant employees to stop working shall not be considered as holiday or leave and the service tenure shall be counted continuously.
This was announced on 19th August 2021.
Request for cooperation from employers to waive presentation of a medical certificate for illness
The Thai Labour Protection Act stipulates that an employee is entitled to take sick as he/she is required but employers shall only pay wage up to 30 days. In case of taking at least 3 days or more, the employer may require the employee to present a medical certificate from a physician or a government medical facility.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, with high numbers of newly infected cases leading to many hospitalized patients and those numbers more likely to increase and additionally, the government had introduced measures of home isolation, community isolation as well as other health measures which results in employees being unable to present medical certificates to employers, the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare therefore on 5th August 2021 issued an announcement seeking cooperation from employers to waive the presentation of medical certificates or allow employees to explain their necessity for taking sick leave via electronic communications or to provide other evidence instead of a medical certificate. These measures would reduce the burden on employees and healthcare workers during this COVID-19 situation.
Reduction of social security contribution rate extended to November 2021
The Ministry of Labour had announced on 28 May 2021, in the form of a Ministerial Regulation, a COVID-19 relief measure for employers and employees with the reduction of social security contribution rates for 1 June – 31 August 2021.
As the impact of COVID-19 to the economy is still evident, to alleviate the burden of employers and employees, on 7 September 2021, the Social Security Board has approved for the extension of reduced social security contribution rates for both employers and employees for a further 3-month period from 1 September – 30 November 2021. The normal rate of contribution of 5% is reduced to 2.5% and as such the maximum contribution will therefore be reduced to THB 375 per month for both employers and employees – kindly note the applicable maximum base monthly salary is THB 15,000. Subsequently, following the Cabinet approval rendered on 21 September 2021, a Ministerial Regulation on the extension will be announced.
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