Labor Disputes in Thailand

Labor disputes can arise for a variety of reasons. The law in Thailand provides a number of mechanisms to resolve these disputes.

These mechanisms include conciliation, arbitration and litigation. Analytics can provide advice and representation in these proceedings. We work closely with local lawyers to represent both foreign and Thai parties.

Disputes between Employers and Employees

Labor disputes can disrupt workplace morale and decrease productivity. They can also lead to loss of revenue and business failure. To prevent them, modern labor policies afford employers and employees several avenues for dispute resolution.

In the Thai labor law a worker can sue an employer for unfair or wrongful dismissal. He can file a complaint to the Labor Court within thirty days after the date of his dismissal. The court may order the employer to pay him severance pay or compensation for his loss of salary and work opportunities due to the unfair or wrongful termination.

Labor disputes between employees and employers are common in Thailand. Many of these issues are related to poorly defined employment contracts. Employees should be able to clearly understand their rights and obligations as stipulated in the Thai labor law, which covers topics such as working hours, holidays, sick leave, maternity leave and overtime. Additionally, workers should be able to easily obtain information about their employment conditions from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

Disputes between Employers and Suppliers

As Thailand moves from agriculture towards industrial production and service industries, the labour system is evolving into a more formalised structure with improved workplace health and safety standards. This is in part driven by greater openness to foreign influence and civil society participation in policy making.

Disputes between employers and suppliers can arise over terms and conditions of employment as well as supply chain issues. These are particularly complex when involving international companies with elements of foreign employment law and local cultural considerations that must be mastered.

Workers can bring labor disputes to the Central Labor Court under the Act on the Establishment and Procedure of the Labor Court. The court hears all cases and appeals on decisions by the Labor Relations Committee or by the Minister concerning labor matters. Its judgments can be appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the process can be lengthy and may take 18 months or more to reach a decision.

Disputes between Employers and Customers

Disputes between employers and customers can arise in numerous ways and often involve complex issues that are cross-border in nature. Such issues may include disputes on the delivery of products or services, payment terms, pricing, severance pay and termination clauses.

Employers in Thailand must abide by international standards and a range of local labour law provisions when it comes to workplace relations with their employees. The complexities increase when the employees are non-Thai nationals with elements of foreign employment laws in play.

Typically, an employee who feels unfairly treated by the employer will first raise the issue with department of labour protection and welfare officials, who act as mediators and have the power to order the company to rectify the situation. Alternatively, the employee may also bring the matter before the Labor Court (a specialised court with jurisdiction over cases and issues surrounding employment) directly.

Disputes between Employers and Contractors

As with any workplace, there will be times when one or more employees feel unfairly treated. This can often be the result of a wide variety of factors that go beyond what is explicitly stipulated in a company’s policies or labor laws. These disputes may require an outside mediator to help the parties reach a compromise.

If a solution is not found, the matter will then be elevated to a labor court for trial. The law requires employers to offer a written employment contract which lays out working conditions, wage rates, maximum number of work days and hours, vacation and sick leave entitlements and worker securities and privileges. Employees who are unfairly terminated can seek substantial statutory compensation from their employer (a legal maximum is not set).

Understanding Thai labor and employment laws is vital for foreign companies doing business in the country. The laws are complex and a full grasp is necessary to ensure that operations are conducted with compliance.

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