Business leaders Monday will discuss a radical government proposal to increase the daily minimum wage to 250 baht – 21 per cent higher than the current Bangkok rate of 206 baht. The minimum wage in Thailand is currently 206 baht per day in Bangkok and slightly less in the provinces. While not the lowest labor market in the region, Thailand’s workforce is among the most cost-efficient in the world

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Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva first floated the idea of a 250-baht minimum wage in June. In an address to Board of Trade members, he urged business leaders to think “out of the box” about ways to improve income distribution to promote social reconciliation.

His proposal will be debated Monday by the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking, which includes representatives from the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers’ Association. Members hope to come up with a clear response to the government.

“This is because the government’s statement has caused confusion among business operators and might cause tremendous increases in their costs,” said FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutthipol.

He said the FTI agreed that wages should increase but that the decision should rest with the tripartite Central Wage Committee, a group of government, employer and labour representatives that reviews rates every December.

“Increasing the minimum wage immediately to 250 baht per day is too high, and doing so might cause some provinces to increase wages by up to 100 baht, which will be a burden for business operators such as in Nan province, where the rate is 152 baht per day,” said Mr Payungsak.

Thailand should take the opportunity during the next few years to strengthen its productivity and competitiveness so that when demand resumes, Thailand will be in a position to jump the band wagon of global recovery. To do so requires serious efforts of all stakeholders in Thailand including the government, private sector, and academia. As these improvements take time, for Thailand to achieve them in time for the projected global recovery, the efforts must start right away.

The size of the work force in Thailand now exceeds 38.24 million (2009 est.), with the majority of the workforce under 35 years of age. Each year about 800,000 people join this force. Many standard labor practices apply, including mandatory severance packages, and overtime payments for work in excess of

The minimum wage in Thailand is currently 206 baht per day in Bangkok and slightly less in the provinces. While not the lowest labor market in the region, Thailand’s workforce is among the most cost-efficient in the world, as they have earned a reputation for diligence and adaptability.

2010 Minimum Daily Wage

206Bangkok and Samut Prakan
205Nakorn Pratom, Nonthaburi,  Pathum Thani and Samut Sakhon
184Chonburi  and Saraburi
173Nakhon Ratchasima, Pang-nga and Ranong
171Chiang Mai
170Krabi, Prachinburi and Lopburi
167Chantaburi and Ratchaburi
165Singhaburi and Angthong
164Prachaub Khiri Khan
163Loei, Samut Songcram and Sa Kaeo
160Chumporn, Trat, Nakhon Nayok, Narathiwat,  Yala, Lamphun and Ubon Ratchatani
159Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Pattalung, Satun,Surat Tthani, Nong Khai and Udon Thani
158Kamphaeng Phet, Chai Nnat, Nakhon Sawan, Suphanburi and Uthai Thani
157Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Chaing Rai, Buri Ram, Yasothon, Roi-et and Sakhon Nakhon
156Chaiyaphum, Lampang and Nong Bua Lamphoo
155Nakhon Phanom, Phetchabun, Mukgdahan and Amnat Charoen
154Maha Sarakham
153Tak, Phitsanulok,  Sukothai, Surin and Uttraradit
152Nan and Si Saket
151Payao,  Pichit, Phrae and Mae Hong Son

Source: Ministry of Labor, as of January 2010

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21 per cent raise in minimum wage debated

About the author

Bangkok Correspondent at Siam News Network

Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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