New Minimum Wage Rates for Skilled Workers

Further to our previous alert last month on the new minimum wage, which comes into force nationwide from 1 April 2018 onwards, the Cabinet recently approved the new minimum wage rates for skilled workers in 16 professional branches across four industry groups as proposed by the Ministry of Labour. The new Notification of the National Wage Committee on Wage Rates According to Skills Standards No. 7 (the "Notification") is expected to be published in the Government Gazette soon and come into force 90 days after its publication.

In order to ensure that employees who have passed the professional skills standards tests, or employees at different levels of professional skills standards, are entitled to fair and suitable wage rates, the Notification sets the minimum wage rates for 16 professional branches across four industry groups, based on skills standards under the law governing skill development promotion. The new minimum wage rates are expected to promote and enhance the skill development of employees, as well as fulfilling the Thai government's objective to increase the competitiveness of Thailand in the global economy.

Employees working in the four industry groups listed below will be entitled to the new wage rates under the Notification:

  1. Iron industry, e.g. metal casting worker and electric arc furnace worker;
  2. Plastic industry, e.g. injection molding machine technician and blow molding machine technician;
  3. Furniture industry, e.g. solid wood furniture assembler and coloring solid wood furniture technician; and
  4. Shoe industry, e.g. shoemaker and molding shoe worker.

The wage rates of the 16 professional branches in these industry groups are classified into two levels, depending on the required skills and level of experience. A level 2 employee, classified as more skilled and experienced, is entitled to receive a higher wage than an employee in level 1 of that particular profession. For example, a level 1 injection molding machine technician is entitled to a minimum wage of Baht 380 per day, while a level 2 employee is entitled to a minimum wage of Baht 450 per day. Similarly, a level 1 metal casting worker is entitled to a minimum wage of Baht 460 per day, while a level 2 employee is entitled to a minimum wage of Baht 560 per day.

Employers will be legally required to pay wages at least at the rates specified by the Notification when it becomes effective. Failure to pay wages in accordance with the Notification may subject employers to criminal penalties, including imprisonment for up to six months and/or a fine of up to Baht 100,000.

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