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Annual Leave in Thailand: A Guide for Employers

When you hire employees abroad you will be facing a whole new set of employee entitlements, most of which are set by statute.  This includes annual leave, which in most countries is for vacation or personal time, and often reflects the local culture around work/life balance.

Thailand has its own unique annual leave entitlements and this guide will give you the basic structure so you know what employees will expect when hiring in that southeast Asian country.

What is classified as annual leave in Thailand?

Annual leave is classified as personal time in Thailand, for vacation or caring for loved ones.  It is distinct from other Thai leave types such as weekly leave (1 day off), business leave (3 days paid) for ‘necessary business’, and maternity leave.

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How much annual leave do Thai employees receive?

Employees that have worked at least one continuous year for the same employer are entitled to a minimum of six days annual leave each year, but more can be agreed to in the employment contract after the first year of leave entitlement.

What is required from the employer?

The employer is required to fix the dates of annual leave in advance, and the employee’s consent is not required (but recommended for their convenience).  Failure to fix leave dates in advance can result in criminal fines, so it does show that Thailand is serious about employee entitlements.

How is annual leave calculated in Thailand?

Leave is calculated by the length of employment, with the number of days accruing for each year of service.  The leave days are in addition to public holidays.

Can leave be carried over in Thailand?

Thai labor statutes mandate the employers must allow employees to carry over unused leave, and any work rules contrary to that will be a violation and unenforceable. The leave can be carried over to subsequent years, but only up to two years from the time it was accrued.  Even if leave is carried over, that does not affect how the current year’s leave is accrued as it won’t be reduced.

Client Case: Comparing annual leave entitlements in APAC

Context:

We had a client interested in hiring employees in Asia Pacific, and wanted to know the different types of leave entitlements prior to hiring.  They were specifically interested in Thailand, Singapore, and Japan.  It is natural for an employer to want to know how leave may impact the employee’s availability.

Solution:

We informed them of the Thai leave amount (6 days), Singapore (7 days, plus an additional day for each year of service) and Japan (10 to 20 days depending on years of service.  This comparison does show the difference between countries, and although Japan is higher there is a reluctance to take leave by Japanese employees which may reduce the net effect.

Do you need more information about Thailand?

If you are new to hiring in Thailand, you may have other questions such as:

What is the effect if an employee works on a public holiday?  Do they get an additional day of annual leave?

Do annual leave entitlements also apply to expats working in Thailand?

Is accrued annual leave paid out when the employment is terminated?

The subtle differences in employee entitlements are a challenge for our clients, and we work with them to make sure they stay in compliance and keep their employees happy.

 Need more information about employing in a new country? Learn more about:

 

 

Looking to hire an employee in Thailand? Get in touch.

 

The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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