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Good News for Unemployed Workers and Businesses as Labour Minister Announces Cabinet’s Resolution on Remedies for Covid-19

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           Good news! The Minister of Labour announced the Cabinet’s resolution approving the Ministry of Labour’s urgent measures to remedy those affected by Covid-19. The proposals include paying compensation for lack of income, reducing contributions, setting up part-time centers, and professional training for both formal and informal households.

           On March 25, 2020, at 10.00 hours, Labour Minister M.R. Chatu Mongol Sonakul presided over a press conference on the Ministry of Labour’s urgent measures in the three areas: international, preventive and remedial. The measures aim to help company employees and self-employed workers affected by the closure of the businesses from the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. The meeting took place at the Santi Maitree Building (outside), Government Houses. The Cabinet’s resolution on March 24, 2020, approved measures to help those affected by Covid-19. In foreign countries, the Ministry of Labour has assigned labour ambassadors in all 12 Thai Labour Offices (Office of Labor Affairs) to create a database on labour, to survey the information of Thai workers returning to Thailand, and will record the history of workers. In addition, the Department of Employment has implemented measures to slow down the approval of all foreign workers from March 23, 2020, onwards, until the situation returns to normal.

         The Ministry of Labour also mentioned measures to prevent the domestic spread of the pandemic, by allowing migrant workers to stay in the Kingdom and continue to work until June 30, 2020. Furthermore, there is work from home campaigns for employees and workplaces. Other measures include the making of cloth masks for the public, building awareness and continuously publicizing disease prevention in the workplace, through all media channels. Social security services will be provided through e-service and e-payment channels to facilitate speed and cost savings, as well as reduce the risk of traveling and contact in the office for service.

          Remedial measures for selfed-insured unemployeds, due to force majeure endorsed by employers, or if the insured person is unable to work because of force majeure, the measures include for insured persons to receive compensation for lack of income at a rate of 50 percent of wages throughout the period that the insurer is not working, for no more than 180 days. For cases where government agencies have instructed the employer to suspend business temporarily and where insured employees do not receive wages, the employees will receive compensation for lack of income at a rate of 50 percent of wages, for no more than 60 days. This is effective from March 1 – August 31, 2020. In case of infection of Covid-19, insured persons can receive free treatment at the hospital, as per their eligibility. The measures also reduce employer and insured employee contribution rates; for employers, the reduction is from 5 percent of employee wages, down to 4 percent. For contributions by insured workers, the decrease is from 5 percent of wages to 1 percent. The reduction in contributions is valid for three months, from March to May 2020.

           Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour has remedial measures for workers who are not in the social security system, especially the self-employed, shops, and establishments that are temporarily suspended. The Ministry of Labour has established a part-time employment service center to generate income for those who want to work hourly and alleviate suffering among businesses. In addition, it will provide vocational training on the sufficiency household economy philosophy for informal worker groups, to be able to apply knowledge and skills to be self-employed. The training will be provided by the Department of Employment for 2,000 people. Once the training is complete, it will provide tools for participants to further their careers and income. The Department of Skill Development has a target of 7,800 people and will provide a per diem of 150 Baht per day. In total, the target group is 9,800 people.

Division of Public Relations

25 March 2020