Asia-Pacific employment law bulletin 2022
Developments in the light of COVID-19
Thailand opened its borders for visitors in October 2021 (subject to certain restrictions and limitations), and now that over 60% of its population have been fully vaccinated, Thailand has seen the number of infections gradually decline since December 2021.
As most government departments adopted a flexible working policy in 2021, with around 30% to 50% of officials working in government offices each day, a very limited number of new laws (which were largely rules and regulations of various government departments) were passed. In addition, as a result of the increased spread of COVID-19 from April 2021, public hearings for proposed laws and the effective dates of new laws were delayed (in particular, the full effectiveness of the new Personal Data Protection Act, which is much dreaded by certain sectors, has been deferred for another year), with greater focus remaining on the issue of COVID-19 vaccine availability, healthcare and social assistance, and economic stimulus packages. However, while the government’s 2021 stimulus packages were generally well-received, Thailand’s employment laws and regulations, including the Wages Committee’s announcement on minimum wage (which has been in place since 1 January 2020) remain unchanged.
In 2022, Thailand is expecting its new Personal Data Protection Act to fully come into force (currently scheduled to be enforced on 1 June 2022). Throughout 2021, businesses and the public sector have been preparing for the full enforcement of the law, albeit with no certainty that the law will be enforced on time.