Thailand – Self-Employed Workers Being Protected under a New Legislation
While the popularity of digital platforms is increasing day by day, the employment status of digital platform workers (also known as gig workers, independent contractors or online platform workers) can be a complex issue and can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the work arrangement and the laws of jurisdiction in which the work is being performed.
In some cases, digital platform workers may be considered employees, while in other cases they may be considered self-employed or independent contractors. The determination of employment status can have significant implications for the rights and protections that apply to the workers, as well as for the tax and other legal obligations of the workers and the platforms.
There is often debate and controversy surrounding the employment status of digital platform workers, and different countries and jurisdictions have taken different approaches to define and regulate this type of work.
Self-employed workers are arguably not considered employees and therefore are not protected under traditional labor laws. In most countries, labor laws are designed to protect the rights and interests of employees, who are typically defined as individuals who work for another person or organization in an employment relationship.
Self-employed workers, on the other hand, are arguably considered to be their own bosses and are not considered employees. They may operate their own business or provide services to clients on a freelance or contract basis. As a result, they are generally not entitled to the same protections and benefits as employees, such as minimum wage, overtime payment, unemployment insurance and compensation.
With the above in mind, workers who work for digital platforms such as riders raised an issue that while they are under the rules of digital platforms, i.e. uniform wearing, working hours, etc.; they are not protected under normal labor law. The Thai Government had looked into this issue and recently, the Cabinet approved in principle to draw up new legislation to protect almost 20,000,000 self-employed workers. Under this new legislation, self-employed workers will be entitled to the following:
- Basic occupational rights;
- Safety at work;
- Social security;
- Forming an organization;
- Be promoted, protected and developed towards a good quality of life;
- Fair work and contract, such as not specifying conditions that cause the work to be rushed with risk or have to work too hard to the point of loss of health;
- Fair compensation;
- Remuneration according to the specified rate and period;
- Welfare and basic insurance;
- Establishing a fund for workers to have access to the source of funds appropriately;
- Right to appeal for the investigation and suspension of work; and
- Right to collective bargaining of workers.
At the moment, the Council of State is considering details of this new legislation. The draft then needs to go through the Parliament which will take a year until it becomes enforce.