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Thailand to raise minimum wage

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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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

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

Source: Ministry of Labor, as of January 2010
Website: www.mol.go.th

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21 per cent raise in minimum wage debated

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

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Pakorn Peetathawatchai, President, The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)

What measures has SET taken to support listed companies’ compliance with ESG standards?
PAKORN PEETATHAWATCHAI:

PAKORN: When we first began promoting ESG-compliant investments, we were met with little interest. We attributed this to a lack of clear data to showcase the economic benefits of ESG investment, and perhaps limited clarity as to what constitutes a sustainable or ESG-compliant investment. The launch of the THSI list and, subsequently, the SETTHSI Index, was designed to address this. Our most recent data, comparing returns for the SETTHSI Index with the broader SET and SET100 indices from April 2020 to April 2021, underscores the economic benefits of these investments: the group compliant with ESG standards outperformed the other two indices on every data point. 

As of May 2021 Thailand was home to CG and ESG assets under management totalling BT54.8bn ($1.7bn) across 50 funds – up from 23 funds in 2019. Meanwhile, of the BT187.1bn ($5.9bn) raised in green, social and sustainability bonds since 2018, BT136.4bn ($4.3bn) was raised in 2020 – 83% from the government and the remainder from development banks and private players. This rising demand, in a move to manage risk and generate returns, has been complemented by growing supply and promotion: supply from ESG-compliant businesses aiming for resiliency and sustainable growth, as well as promotion from regulators highlighting investment opportunities with good CG and SD practices. Indeed, the pandemic has been a catalyst in shifting the view of ESG compliance from a luxury to a requirement in the new normal.

In what ways can enhanced standard-setting and regulatory mechanisms overcome the remaining barriers to improved ESG performance?

PAKORN: A multi-stakeholder approach is crucial for enhanced ESG performance – not only in Thailand, but around much of the globe. This can also help to address the standout incumbent challenge: access to reliable, wide-ranging ESG data. For example, the 2020 update to the 56-1 One Report established clear ESG standards and triggered online and offline capacity-building programmes to support listed firms’ compliance. SET is developing an ESG data platform with a structured template to promote the availability of comparable data, maximise value added from corporate sustainability disclosures, and foster collaboration between the business value chain and stakeholders. This is expected to support Thai companies along their ESG journey in an economically sustainable way, result in a greater number of sustainability-focused products and services, drive sustainable investing in the Thai investment community and ultimately “make the capital market work for everyone”, as outlined in the SET’s vision.
 

 

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