Thai Labor Law protects employees rights and is relatively flexible for employers. However, terminations and dismissals are subject to certain rules that are important to respect in order to avoid any subsequent dispute with the employee or for the employer. Whether you are an employer or an employee, Juslaws & Consult can inform you about your rights regarding termination of employment in Thailand.
We know that every situation is unique, therefore it is essential to seek a consultation with someone who is specialized in Thai Labor Law to fully understand your rights and potential claims. Juslaws & Consult has created a list of frequently asked questions regarding termination, wrongful dismissal and labor law in Thailand. Please use it as a guidline only.
Q: Does the employee have to be notified of the termination?
In order to terminate an employment contract of indefinite duration, unless the employment contract provides otherwise, the employee must be notified within a minimum period equal to the employee's pay cycle. For example, if the employee is paid monthly, the notification must be sent to the employee for at least one month before the effective date of termination. If the pay cycle is longer than three months, the period for notifying the employee may be three months.
When the contract is for a fixed term, there is no need to notify the employee before the end of the contract.
Q: How should the employee be notified of the termination?
We recommend sending a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt (EMS) to keep physical evidence of the date of notification.
Q: Does the employee need to be informed of the reasons for the termination?
If the employee receives severance pay, there is no legal obligation to notify him/her of the reason for dismissal. We recommend, however, that the employee be notified of the reasons for his or her dismissal to protect against any recourse by the employee for wrongful dismissal.
When an employee is terminated without severance pay under Section 119 of the Labor Protection Act ("termination without severance pay"), the reasons for the termination must be carefully detailed in the notice.
Q: Is it possible to dismiss an employee without notice?
Section 119 of the Labor Protection Act sets out the cases of dismissal where the employee does not need to be notified. This is particularly the case when:
Q: Is it possible for the employer to force the employee not to report to the workplace after notification and until dismissal (a "garden leave" period)?
This case is not provided for in the Labor Protection Act but the practice is common in Thailand. As long as the employee keeps his status and pay, it is possible to put the employee on "garden leave".
However, be sure to return all personal belongings to the employee before forcing the employee to not return to the workplace.
Q: How many employees can be terminated at the same time?
Thai law sets no legal restrictions on the number of employees that an employer may terminate at the same time. However, if the dismissal is without real or reasonable cause, the employee may take the matter to the Labor Court for unfair dismissal. The employer must ensure that appropriate measures are taken and that the employees are individually terminated.
Q: What happens to a foreign employee’s work permit and business visa (non-immigrant B visa) after termination?
Once an employee is terminated, the employer must cancel the work permit within 15 days. The visa is immediately considered cancelled at the time of dismissal. It is therefore advisable for the employee to apply for a 30-day tourist visa on the day of dismissal to avoid overstay fees.
Q: What happens if the employer does not renew an employee’s visa or work permit?
An employee who has not been terminated by his employer but whose work permit has not been renewed by his employer is no longer entitled to work. However, the employee remains subject to the lawful instructions of his employer to which he shall comply during his working time.
An employee whose work permit or visa has not been renewed by his employer may submit a claim to the Labor Court and bring an action against his employer for wrongful dismissal.
Q: Does the resigning employee receive severance pay?
No, the resigning employee does not receive severance pay.
Q: Is it abusive to dismiss immediately and without compensation an employee who spends too much time on social media?
In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that it is legal to immediately terminate without compensation an employee who used the office computer to use social media for personal reasons during working hours, negatively impacting the employee's performance.
Q: Is it abusive to dismiss immediately and without compensation an employee who criticizes his employer on social media?
In another recent judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that it is legal to immediately dismiss without compensation an employee who knowingly caused damage to his employer by complaining about his working conditions on social networks.
Q: Are there cases where the employee is protected against dismissal?
Pregnant women cannot be dismissed for pregnancy. Under normal circumstances, members and representatives of the employee's committee may only be dismissed with the approval of the Labor Court.
Q: What is the amount of severance pay an employee can receive?
Here is how severance pay is calculated.
|Period of Employment||Severance pay|
|Less than 120 days||No severance pay|
|120 days - 1 year||Wages for at least 30 days|
|1 year - 3 years||Wages for at least 90 days|
|3 years – 6 years||Wages for at least 180 days|
|6 years – 10 years||Wages for at least 240 days|
|10 years – 20 years||Wages for at least 300 days|
|More than 20 years||Wages for at least 400 days|
Q: Does the employer have to pay additional compensation to an employee subject to a non-competition clause?
No, Thai law does not require the employer to compensate an employee subject to a non-competition clause.
Q: Can an employee take legal action against their employer if they are dismissed?
It is possible for the employee to file a complaint against the employer in the Labor Court in order to obtain severance pay, or compensation for wrongful dismissal after dismissal without first filing a complaint with the Labor Inspector.
Thai law does not precisely define what constitutes "unfair / wrongful dismissal". In the event that the Labor Court upholds the wrongful dismissal charge, it is possible that the Court:
Orders the employer to reinstate the employee under the same conditions as before his or her departure; or, if the court decides that the parties are no longer able to work together,
Orders the employer to pay the employee compensation for unfair / wrongful dismissal. This amount is calculated by the court and depends entirely on the circumstances of the employee.
Q: What is the time frame of a case at Labor Court?
On average, an action brought before the Labor Court is judged within 3 to 18 months after the filing of the complaint, or even longer for complex cases.
The judgments of the Labor Court are subject to appeal to the Supreme Court within 15 days of the judgment.
Q: Is it possible for the employer to settle the dispute amicably with the employee after the employee has filed a complaint?
Yes, the employer and employee can settle the dispute amicably, even after the case has been brought before Thai Labor Court.
Juslaws & Consult helps both employees and employers to comply with Thai Labor Law, specifically with termination of employment, wrongful dismissal charges, compensation and severance pay settlements. If you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact us.