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Maternity and Paternity Leave in Thailand: A Guide for Overseas Employers

The necessity of offering maternity or paternity leave to new parents is well-known to most employers, but when you hire employees abroad the local entitlement standards will need to be followed closely.  The minimum amount of time for leave may be very different from your home country, and that could result in a vacant position longer than planned, or the unexpected cost of paying full salary during leave.

Employing in Thailand will mean meeting the leave entitlements when employees have a new child.  Thailand’s leave periods/payment rules are not especially burdensome for the employer compared to other countries, and social security does help offset the cost for private companies.  If you are new to hiring in Thailand, you will want to review the leave periods and payment amounts, so you are prepared if an employee becomes pregnant.

Maternity Leave in Thailand

What are the maternity leave entitlements in Thailand?

The maternity leave entitlement in Thailand was expanded in 2019 from 90 to 98 days of paid maternity leave.  The 98 days does include any time off for pre-natal doctor visits, as well as public holidays during the leave period.

The employee is paid 100% of salary during the first 45 days of leave, and that first half of the leave period is paid by the employer. The second half of leave is paid by social security (at 50%, and subject to a monthly cap of THB 15,000).  The social security leave can only be taken for two childbirths.  These entitlements also apply to surrogate mothers, but not to employees who become parents through surrogacy with a third party.

Companies can also elect to create their own leave policies as long as they meet the statutory minimums.  One good example of this is Microsoft Thailand, who recently increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 20 weeks and paternity leave from three days to six weeks, also fully paid.

How long does an employee have to work with a company to use maternity leave?

There is no set length of service requirement to take maternity leave.  But, for full paid maternity leave benefits for the entire 90 days, the employee must have made contributions to the Social Welfare Fund for a minimum of 7 months before pregnancy (not before birth).  In most cases, those contributions would be with the current employer, so the 7 months does act as a service minimum.

Can an employee begin her maternity leave prior to giving birth? 

Yes, with a doctor’s certificate the leave/change of duties can begin before childbirth, otherwise the leave begins upon delivery of the child.

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Paternity Leave in Thailand

Are fathers entitled to paternity leave in Thailand?

In the private sector, there is no paid paternity leave by statute in Thailand, although employers are free to offer paid/unpaid time off.  (Both mothers and fathers who are insured by social security receive a THB 13,000 lump sum payment for child delivery).

Public sector employees do receive 15 days of paternity leave, but there is no plan to extend this to the private sector where it can be more difficult for companies to make up for the lost work time by new fathers.

Adoption Leave in Thailand

Do parents of adopted children receive maternity and paternity leave?

No, there is no statutory adoption leave for the parents, perhaps illustrating a labor policy that places more importance on the time and care needed for a newborn child.

Do you need more information on Thailand?

Employers just entering Thailand may have more questions such as:

Can employees be terminated during either pregnancy or maternity leave for justifiable causes?

How are the social security leave payments handled in payroll?  Are they taxed the same as wages? 

Is there any way to prevent an employee from resigning after they complete their 98 day leave period?

Our clients often have questions like these and rely on our assistance to remain compliant with rules surrounding benefits, leave, termination and running payroll abroad.  We make international employment simple.

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

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