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Thailand Approves Minimum Wage Hike; Further Increase Expected in March

In a significant move, Thailand’s national wage panel has reached a resolution to augment the daily minimum wage, set to take effect next week. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has hinted at the possibility of a further increase come March, marking a noteworthy development in the country’s labor policies.

Commencing January 1, the decision endorsed by the tripartite wage committee will usher in an average wage hike of 2.4%. This adjustment translates to daily wages ranging from 330 to 370 baht, contingent upon the province. It is noteworthy that this increment follows a 5% upswing implemented in October 2022. Despite initial reservations from the government, the cabinet has acknowledged the committee’s proposal, which suggests raising wages by 2 to 16 baht across different provinces.

However, the modest 2-baht increase for specific regions, including Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, has not escaped criticism from Prime Minister Thavisin. He has expressed the anticipation of a more substantial hike during the impending March review, demonstrating a commitment to addressing concerns and pushing for equitable wage adjustments.

Labor Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has revealed plans to establish a sub-committee in the upcoming month. This sub-committee will be tasked with deliberating on new wage rates, with an expected announcement around the Songkran festival in April. The proposed system is set to take into account local wage rates and professional categories, potentially resulting in diverse wage structures within the same province.

Crucially, the subcommittee’s discussions will draw insights from various entities, including the Bank of Thailand and the National Economic and Social Development Council. The government aims to finalize and sanction new wage rates by the end of March, demonstrating a collaborative approach involving key stakeholders in the decision-making process.

This initiative aligns with the election pledge of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, which vowed to elevate the daily minimum wage to 400 baht by the year’s end and ultimately to 600 baht within their four-year tenure. As Thailand navigates these economic adjustments, the careful consideration of diverse perspectives and collaboration with relevant bodies underscores a concerted effort to strike a balance in wage policies.

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