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Thailand Labor Law: Notice Requirements for Employee Termination

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today we are going to be discussing, as the title suggests, notice periods in connection with Thailand Labor Law and the termination of employees. 

As noted in another video on this channel, there is a probationary period associated with employment here in the Kingdom of Thailand. As previously noted in that video, Thailand is not a sort of "at will" employment jurisdiction similar to the jurisdiction I come from. Many Americans are actually rather used to the notion of sort of "at will" employment, employment at which one can sort of be terminated without much cause; they basically can just sort of be terminated "at will" for lack of a better term. Sometimes it's called being in a "right to work state" back in the US. That being said, there are other jurisdictions in the United States as well as the Anglosphere as well as in Europe that have more restrictions with respect to how and under what circumstances an employee can be terminated. In Thailand this is no less the case. In fact there are various severance issues associated with terminating an employee in the Kingdom of Thailand and one of the most important issues that I think is often overlooked that I have noted here in the Kingdom is the notion of notice periods. There are required notice periods where an employer needs to put an employee on notice of impending termination. This can be somewhat of a foreign concept, especially to those who come from some of the American jurisdictions because, I myself was not particularly aware of this and was not particularly able to really deal with it when I first came upon this issue. It was only later that I came to understand some of the tactics and strategies that Thai attorneys here in the Kingdom, some of whom are with our firm, use to deal with this issue but basically the thing to take away from this is, there is a required notice period. Now it may depend a little bit depending on the given circumstances of the case but generally speaking 30 days is pretty much, a pretty trusted rule of thumb; again those interested in this matter are strongly advised to contact professional legal counsel in order to get assistance in the matter so that they can go ahead and tailor their strategy with respect to these issues based on their own set of given circumstances. But again a good rule of thumb is about 30 days notice needs to be given to the employee, that's in order for the employee to go and find other employment etc. But in some cases it may not be overly preferential to the employee to go ahead and have that individual working for another 30 days knowing that they’re not going to be there at the end of that time period so in those cases I mean, that employee often times is going to need to be paid during their notice; usually that lasts 30 days. This can create kind of a conundrum for employers over here in Thailand wishing to deal with staff issues. Unfortunately sometimes there are simply just circumstances that can’t be overcome, you are just going to have to deal with it; this is kind of one of those circumstances. But something to take into consideration with respect to notice and the probationary period specifically is that notice needs to be given, even during the probationary period. I found it rather interesting over the years that many of the folks that I've dealt with, when  dealing with these issues, they kind of take the presumption if you will, that during the probationary period there is basically an “at-will” employment regime at work  during that period of time; that is not exactly the case. Notice is still required notwithstanding the fact that an employee maybe in the probationary period and can be fired without necessarily having to be given severance per se. But firing an individual without giving adequate notice may be grounds for them to take to the Labour Court and cause a dispute with respect to that issue and therefore perhaps you are still going to see sort of a monetary settlement have to come out of a certain set of circumstances like that for failure to give notice. So again notice in sort of a Western context or at least how it's applied in the Kingdom here is a bit strange or alien if you will but it's the way it's done here in the Kingdom of Thailand by and large. There may be certain ways in which one can figure out a way to mitigate one’s, at least one's monetary payout with respect but that's probably going to vary depending on circumstances and depending on the employee in question.