Could hourly wages be the answer to Thailand’s unemployment woes?

While hourly wages will offer more flexibility in hiring, there are concerns among employers and activists.
By: | July 30, 2020

Authorities in Thailand are pushing for the adoption of hourly wages to help boost employment although there are concerns among employers and activists, according to the Bangkok Post.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent Thailand’s unemployment soaring, with around 9 million Thais forecast to lose jobs.

To help boost the job market, the government has promoted part-time hiring, especially in the service sector such as the sale of food and goods, product arrangements and goods transport.

However, employers are reluctant as they are required by law to pay a worker not less than the daily minimum wages although he or she may work less than eight hours a day. The daily minimum wages range from 313 to 336 baht depending on the province.

Furthermore, only students and the elderly are allowed to take up hourly wages at the moment.

Veerasu Kaewboonpun, a member representing employees on the National Wage Committee, said during a seminar that during the pandemic, employers find it a challenge to pay workers daily or monthly as there is not enough work for them to do.

“We want jobless people to be hired, even hourly, so they can at least make ends meet,” he said.

But he warned of consequences and said careful consideration was needed on what jobs would be eligible and the rules had to be strictly enforced.

Anantachai Uthaipattanacheep, a member representing the government on the National Wage Board, added that rules have to be implemented to protect workers from being exploited.

“If an employer hires someone for only four hours a day, they will be paid less than the daily minimum wage,” he said.

“The rules must make sure hourly workers remain in the system while maintaining the flexibility. For instance, working the fifth hour must be paid more or equal to the minimum daily wage.”