A New Labor Law Established the Rights and Obligations to Work-From-Home
As we are all aware that the working routines of people nowadays have shifted to a new normal of work-from-home arrangements, rendering the Thai Labor Protection Act B.E 2541 (1998) incompatible with how people work today. As a result, on 19 March 2023, the Labor Protection Act (No. 8) B.E. 2566 (2023) (“Act”) was announced in the royal gazette, amending thelabor law, and will be enforced within 30 days from the announcement dates, which will be effective on April 18, 2023, with the objective of being in line with today’s working lifestyle.
Section 23/1 has been added to the Act and it contains 4 significant clauses as follows:
- For the benefits of the employer’s business operation and the promotion of employees’ quality of life and work, the employees can work at home, at residence, or anywhere outside the employer’s office conveniently by using information technology or IT.
- In order to work remotely, the employer and employee may execute a written or electronic agreement that may include the following clauses:
- The term of the agreement;
- The working days, normal working hours, and overtimes;
- The rules governing overtimes, holiday, working days and types of leave;
- Scope of work and the employer’s supervision; and
- Obligations of the employer to provide the necessary working tools or equipment and expenses in relation to the performance of the work.
- Unless they have given prior written consent, employees have the right to refuse all forms of communication from their employer or supervisor after a working hour or the end of work as assigned by the employer. This Right to Disconnect follows EU legislation beginning with France in 2017 and spreading to Spain, Ireland, and Italy by the end of 2021.
- Employees who work remotely have the same rights as those who work at the office, which means that employers cannot change or reduce benefits if employees do not agree to it.
In conclusion, this Act will not only improve employees’ quality of life and work but will also assist in the resolution of traffic issues and the reduction of energy and fuel consumption. All employees who work remotely should be aware of this Act in order to understand their current rights and responsibilities. The employers should also consider drafting work-from-home agreements with the said employees. Please note that there is no provision regarding the penalty for non-compliance with this Section 23/1 because the government currently intends to support work-from-home policies.