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Navigating Change: A Comprehensive Overview of New Minimum Wage Rate in 2024 (Thailand)

NO&T Asia Legal Review

*Please note that this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. In addition, it is based on information as of its date of publication and does not reflect information after such date. In particular, please also note that preliminary reports in this newsletter may differ from current interpretations and practice depending on the nature of the report.

On 1 January 2024, the Wages Committee implemented an increase in the minimum wage rate ranging from an additional THB 2 to 16 per day, with variations based on the provinces of the workplace. The highest minimum wage rate in Thailand continues to be provided to employees working in Phuket province at THB 370 per day; while 3 provinces in the southern part of Thailand have the lowest minimum wage rate at THB 330 per day.

This new minimum wage rate is announced in the Notification of Wages Committee re: Minimum Wage Rate (No. 12) dated 8 December 2023 and took effect from 1 January 2024.

Comparison of minimum wage rate in key provinces in Thailand

*Based on the average exchange rate at USD 1 = THB 35

Provinces Former minimum wage rate (THB/day) Present minimum wage rate (THB/day)
(effective on 1 January 2024)
Phuket 354
(equivalent to USD 10.11)
370
(equivalent to USD 10.57)
Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon 353
(equivalent to USD 10.09)
363
(equivalent to USD 10.37)
Chon Buri, Rayong 354
(equivalent to USD 10.11)
361
(equivalent to USD 10.31)
Chachoengsao 345
(equivalent to USD 9.86)
350
(equivalent to USD 10.00)
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 343
(equivalent to USD 9.80)
350
(equivalent to USD 10.00)
Chiang Mai, Prachin Buri, Saraburi 340
(equivalent to USD 9.71)
350
(equivalent to USD 10.00)

Any employer who pays the employees less than the new minimum wage rate, regardless of newly hired or existing employees, needs to increase the wage accordingly.

Minimum Wage Rate for Skilled Employees in Certain Occupations

In Thailand, the minimum wage rate is applicable to every employee. However, for employees in certain types of work or occupations, they may be eligible to the higher wage rate, provided that such employees pass the measurement of workmanship skill, knowledge and ability, so-called National Skill Standard Test, arranged by certified organizations under Skill Development Promotion Act of 2002. Upon obtaining the National Skill Standard Assessment Certificate from the employee, the employer shall have a duty to increase wage rate.

On 13 September 2023, the Wages Committee passed a resolution to improve the minimum wage rate according to the national skill standards for 54 occupations out of 129 occupations to be suitable for the present situation. The minimum wage rate varies based on professional branches and level of proficiency which can be classified into 3 levels.

This updated minimum wage rate has been announced in the Notification of Wages Committee re: Wage Rate According to Skills Standards (No. 13) dated 29 September 2023 and will be effective from 18 March 2024.

Summary of Wage Rate According to National Skill Standards

*Based on the average exchange rate at USD 1 = THB 35

Occupations Minimum Wage Rate (THB/day)
1. Construction Group 410-690
(equivalent to USD 11.71-19.71)
2. Industrial Mechanic Group 405-855
(equivalent to USD 11.57-24.43)
3. Mechanic Group 400-680
(equivalent to USD 11.43-19.43)
4. Electricity, Electronic and Computer Group 400–695
(equivalent to USD 11.43-19.86)
5. Industrial Artist Group 370-825
(equivalent to USD 10.57-23.57)
6. Service Sector Group 400-900
(equivalent to USD 11.43-25.71)

Minimum Wage Rate for Expatriates

Even though the minimum wage rate announced by the Wages Committee is applicable to every employee whether Thai or foreigner without discrimination, an employer who wishes to employ expatriates for its business may be required to pay a higher salary to the expatriate than the minimum wage rate. This requirement is not set out by the Wages Committee under the labour protection law, but is a consequence of business/working visa (so-called, Non-Immigrant Visa Category B: Non-B) requirement under the immigration law.

To clarify, the expatriate shall be granted a work permit if they stay in Thailand with a certain visa as prescribed under the immigration law. In this regard, Non-B (business/working) is the visa type mostly obtained by expatriates for working in Thailand.

In October 2023, the Immigration Bureau announced the Order of Immigration Bureau No. 242/2566 re: Permission for Alien to Have a Temporary Stay in the Kingdom of Thailand dated 27 September 2023 to update the criteria and conditions for visa issuance. One of the conditions updated is the income condition that expatriates who would like to apply for Non-B visa must comply with as follows:

Minimum Income of Expatriate Applying for Non-B Visa

* Based on the average exchange rate at USD 1 = THB 35

Nationality Minimum income (THB/month)
1. Countries in Europe (except Russia) and countries in Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States of America 50,000
(equivalent to USD 1,428.57)
2. South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong 45,000
(equivalent to USD 1,285.71)
3. Countries in Asia (except Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam) and countries in South America, countries in Eastern Europe, countries in Central America, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa 35,000
(equivalent to USD 1,000)
4. Countries in Africa (except South Africa), Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam 25,000
(equivalent to USD 714.29)

Thus, in principle, the employer who would like to hire the expatriate may need to pay expatriates not less than those required for Non-B visa unless it is stipulated otherwise by specific laws, regulations, official’s orders or resolutions or such expatriates stay or will stay in Thailand with other types of visa. For instance, expatriates who stay in Thailand with a Non-Immigrant Visa Category O issued for Thai spouse, a Non-Immigrant Visa Category L-A (MOU) issued for workers from the countries with which Thailand has signed a memorandum, such as Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos PDR or the executives or skilled workers employed to work in Thailand through an approval of Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) or Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), shall not be subject to this minimum income requirement.

Conclusion

While the recent increase in the minimum wage rate effective from 1 January 2024 marks a significant development, this adjustment is not intended to be permanent. The Thai government has set its goal to increase the minimum wage to THB 600 per day by 2027. To facilitate this goal, an ad-hoc committee was appointed on 17 January 2024 to analyze and adjust the calculation method of the minimum wage rate. Although the precise timeframe of the new rate is unpredictable, the government anticipates that the Wages Committee will approve the second round of increase in the minimum wage rate this year, tentatively by March 2024.

This newsletter is given as general information for reference purposes only and therefore does not constitute our firm’s legal advice. Any opinion stated in this newsletter is a personal view of the author(s) and not our firm’s official view. For any specific matter or legal issue, please do not rely on this newsletter but make sure to consult a legal adviser. We would be delighted to answer your questions, if any.

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