A new regulation that boosts the financial assistance offered to state enterprise employees infected with COVID-19 has taken effect.
Companies have asked the government to allow them to deduct the cost of vaccinating their employees from their corporate taxes.
The financial aid will apply to companies in the sectors of construction, hotels, food services, art, entertainment and recreation in affected provinces.
The payout will cover over 690,000 employees across six high-risk provinces, paying out half their wages with a cap of 7,500 baht.
The debt moratorium has been extended from June 30 to December, and will be applicable to SMEs hit by the economic uncertainty due to the pandemic.
Qualified SMEs for the new co-payment scheme include those that could not acquire a soft loan from Thailand’s central bank package.
The measures include cash handouts to welfare card holders and special groups, co-payments and cash rebates, and will be implemented from July.
The measures include assistance to the tourism industry, which has been hit badly by the outbreak, and support to retain jobs at smaller companies.
The National Economic and Social Development Council said the third wave of the pandemic is likely to lead to soaring unemployment this year.
The Cabinet gave in-principle approval for the fiscal stimulus measures, aimed to help the poor cope with the economic impact from the pandemic.
The restrictions are now enforced in six provinces — Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.
A government spokesperson said that the new relief packages would be decided “carefully” to ensure that those who are impacted by the pandemic are covered.
To help workers made jobless by the latest COVID-19 wave, the country’s Ministry of Labour is compiling a list of more than 225,000 job vacancies.
The Ministry of Public Health's advisory comes as the number of COVID-19 cases are expected to spike after the Songkran festival.
The Ministry of Labour will provide free COVID-19 tests to members of the social security scheme, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Bangkok.
The cabinet has approved its third stimulus package of 1.9 trillion baht (US$60.5 billion) to help workers and businesses get through the pandemic.
The Cabinet has approved the setting up of the National Pension Fund (NPF), a new mandatory retirement savings scheme for formal sector workers.
This includes 250 billion baht worth of soft loans for SMEs that will help them access credit, and 100 billion baht for loan repayments.
It aims to promote sustainable business operations in all dimensions of the capital market industry.
The government is currently preparing additional measures to help local SMEs, which will cover up to 50 to 80% of SMEs various expenses.
The third phase of its handouts would allow for financial assistance for public services, such as public transport costs.
In February, 114,101 newly unemployed workers registered for financial aid, while 487,143 people updated their unemployment status.
Businesses should speed up on training programmes for skills development for their workers as companies have turned to automation and AI, Pichayanan said.
Under its social security system, the government has approved a scheme that will give salaried workers 4,000 baht (US$134) each.
Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given the go-ahead for financial aid costing 40 billion baht to help employees left out under previous schemes.
The Tourism Council of Thailand wants to implement a dedicated support programme for tourism workers to reskill and upskill by March.
The training programmes may also need to focus on promoting livelihoods and self-employment skills in rural areas, said the World Bank
To help workers laid off due to the recent resurgence of COVID-19, the Labour Ministry has compiled a list of 58,151 job openings.
Finance minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has proposed for 210 billion baht (US$7 billion) to be given as cash handouts to individuals and companies.
The measures include soft loans and lower utility bills, and aim to boost liquidity for businesses, provide debt relief and unemployment support.