Embracing the Dynamic Nature of Work: Thailand's Work-from-Home Laws

In recent years, working from home has gained traction in certain industries. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated its adoption across various sectors. This shift has prompted businesses to recognize the advantages of remote work, such as cost savings and improved well-being. In response to these changing dynamics, the Thai Parliament has passed the Labor Protection Act (8) of 2023, commonly referred to as the "work from home bill," effective from April 18, 2023.

The key amendments introduced by this bill are as follows: Article 23/1 has been added to the legislation, emphasizing that employees can carry out their work outside of the employer's physical premises. This includes the option to work from home or utilize technology to work from any location. Employees who do not work at the employer's place of business are now entitled to the same labor protection as those who do, ensuring equal treatment. The bill also allows for the establishment of agreements between employers and employees regarding the start and end times of work, break periods, the scope of work, and employer supervision.

To ensure transparency and accessibility, employers must maintain a record or electronic data that can be accessed and reused without altering its meaning. Agreements may include details such as:

  1. Duration of the agreement period
  2. Normal working days, hours, rest periods, and overtime work
  3. Rules regarding overtime work and work on holidays, including different types of leave
  4. The scope of the employee's work duties and the employer's control or supervision
  5. Responsibilities related to the provision of tools, equipment, and necessary expenses for work

One critical amendment under the new law pertains to working hours and employer expectations outside of those hours. Employers are prohibited from requiring employees to communicate or perform work-related tasks after normal working hours, as agreed upon or assigned by the employer. Employees have the right to refuse such requests unless they have provided prior written consent.

Comparing the new law with the previous legislation, while the old law did not explicitly prohibit working from locations other than the employer's place of business, it did not clearly address the option to work from home. The amended law provides clarity and safeguards employees from potential termination without valid reasons for more than three consecutive days.

Furthermore, the old law stated that work duration should not exceed 8 hours (or 7 hours for hazardous work), but the new law introduces specific start and end times for work. Additionally, the new law empowers employees to decline work requests beyond their agreed-upon working hours, not only from employers but also from colleagues or customers. This provision recognizes the inherent power imbalance in employer-employee relationships and promotes a healthier work-life balance.

In conclusion, labor laws are dynamic and must adapt to the evolving needs of employees and employers. The amendments introduced by the work-from-home bill, including specified work hours and the prohibition of work beyond those hours, aim to promote equality in the workplace. Allowing employees to work from home reflects the changing societal landscape. These amendments provide a more equitable framework, benefiting employees and promoting a healthier work environment.

Written by: Suthawan Boonmak & Krongkarn Kaewsakun

This website uses cookies to improve the user experience. By accessing this site, the user agrees to the Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy
Back To Top