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What is the Legal Definition of Work in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing working in Thailand and specifically what is the definition of work. 

I hear this from time to time from people who are looking into a Work Permit and oftentimes, I am not saying people are purposely trying to circumvent the system or obfuscate whatever, but sometimes in many cases they genuinely feel "what I am doing is not work." For example, volunteers, I often hear this from a lot. "What I am doing isn't work so you know I am not being compensated so for that reason why should I need a Work Permit?" 

I am going to go ahead and quote directly from the Foreigners Working Management Emergency Decree of 2017. This comes from Department of Employment website here in Thailand. That is a doe.go.th and this is the English translation from that site. This should not be viewed as dispositive. It should only be viewed as for informational purposes only. Do not take this and detrimentally rely upon it based on the content contained herein. It is simply a translation of the Thai Law and the Thai language would be controlling in an adjudication or a possible enforcement proceeding etc.

Quoting directly from section 5: "Work" means the use of physical strength or knowledge for engaging in an occupation or a job with or without an intention to obtain wages or any other benefit except the work prescribed in the notification of the Minister”. So with respect to the exception, they sort of layout an exception wherein the Minister of Labour can create non-work labour for lack of better term. They can create that by regulation. But going back here "with or without an intention to obtain wages or any other benefit". So compensation is not necessarily fundamental to the definition of work in Thailand. Again "use of physical strength or knowledge for engaging in an occupation or a job." That is pretty broad. That is pretty much anything that requires thinking or doing could arguably be considered work in Thailand. For this reason those who are looking to work in Thailand, it is a very good idea to go ahead and look at obtaining a Work Permit here in the Kingdom. This is especially relevant in the context of the fact that a subsequent decree which came out after this one also really liberalized certain aspects of Labour Regulations with respect to those who already have a Work Permit so they really stopped being real knit pickety about location of work or type of work. They stopped tying people down to a really specific description or very specific job description if you will. 

So again if you are looking to work in Thailand and whether it is compensated or not, it is probably a very good idea to go ahead and seek some legal professional advice with respect to obtaining a Work Permit and maintaining that Work Permit while being involved in employment activities here in the Kingdom.