Recent Guidelines Announced by the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare under Thailand’s Work-from-Home Law
The Labour Protection Act (No. 8) B.E. 2566 (2023) was officially enacted in the Royal Gazette on 18 March 2023, which added Section23/1, work-from-home, to the Labour Protection Act BE 2541 (1998) (the “LPA”). Consequently, the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare announced new guidelines on 12 April 2023 with the intention to provide officers, employers and employees with a better and clearer understanding of the said new law; in order to set the required standard of practice for labour inspectors in the most effective implementation thereof. In this regard, we summarise some key elements provided in the guidelines, as follows:
1. If the agreement is made using electronic data
The employer must determine the form, procedure, method of data transmission, storage and access, including signature, in order to identify the owner of the electronic signature related to such electronic data and to verify that the signee accepts the message in such electronic data; provided that such electronic data is accessible and retrievable, and the meaning of an agreement between the employer and the employee remains unchanged as from the date on which the agreement is made by the employer and the employee.
2. If the employee consents to be contacted after the end of normal working hours or after completion of work assigned by the employer
Such communication should only be carried out in urgent cases and without any requirement for the employee to work. However, if such communication is carried out with the aim to require the employee to work, the employer must comply with the LPA, i.e. the consent of the employee must be obtained and overtime pay must be made strictly according to the law.
3. If the employer and the employee have agreed for the employee to work-from-home or work remotely through the use of information technology before Section 23/1 comes into effect
If such agreement has not been recorded in writing or electronically, the employer has a duty to prepare written or electronic information as required by law.
In this regard, the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare has published a template for the agreement to work remotely from the workplace or office of the employer, or to work through the use of information technology from any location in the Thai language, as per the link below. Said template agreement was prepared as a guideline / example for drafting the relevant agreement between the employer and the employee; the employer and the employee can consider revisions thereof as deemed appropriate and in line with Section 23/1 of the LPA.
Recent Guidelines Announced by the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare under Thailand’s Work-from-Home Law.pdf
It is important to note that Section 23/1 of the LPA is a non-obligatory clause - with no penalty for those who violate or fail to comply with such legal provision. This is because such legal provision is for the benefit of the employer’s business operation and to promote the quality of life and work performance of the employee, or in the case of necessity – that is an agreement the employer and the employee have a joint decision as to whether or not they would like to implement such work-from-home scheme. Having said that, if the employee opines that the employer has not acted in line with the requirement under Section 23/1 of the LPA or fails to make payments as per the agreement during the work-from-home arrangement, the employee can still file a complaint with the competent labour inspector for investigation; and the labour inspector is empowered to issue an order for the employee to comply with.
This is intended merely to provide a regulatory overview and not to be comprehensive; it is NOT a provision of legal advice. Should you have any questions on this or on other areas of law, please do not hesitate to contact the following:
Chanakarn has particular in-depth expertise in the practical side of the legislative system of labour & employment law and personal data protection law. For the Labour & Employment practice, she engages in both advisory work and litigation, as well as drafting and reviewing legal documents, negotiating settlements, interviewing employees (particularly those accused of wrongdoing), managing whistleblowing hotlines and processes, providing trainings and various types of employment law advice, and representing clients in numerous court cases and in hearings before the labour authorities. For the Personal Data Protection practice, she assists her clients through the entire process, from providing training, analysing how clients handle personal data transactions, summarising clients’ data flow, providing legal advice, and drafting necessary legal documents for her clients. Chanakarn’s strategy is to provide detailed, accurate advice and flexible solutions, adapted to meet her clients’ needs. She excels in simplifying complex matters and equipping her clients to make the right decisions. She receives consistently strong feedback from her clients regarding the quality of her work. She has been ranked for labour and employment practice in Chambers Asia Pacific 2022 and 2023.