Thailand Adopts Work From Home Legislation Enshrining Digital Nomads Rights
Thailand has become the latest country to enshrine digital nomads rights, providing protection to an increasing number of people who want to work from home but are unsure about the law and guidelines.
The move comes as more employees discover that the line between their personal and professional lives is becoming increasingly blurred, with bosses expecting them to be available at all hours.
As a result, Thailand’s labour law has been amended not only for the “benefits of employers’ operations,” but also for the “improvement of employees’ quality of life and work.”
Employees have the right, under the newly amended law, to ignore any communication from their employers after work hours without fear of repercussions.
On April 18, the new version of Thailand’s Labor Protection Act will go into effect.
What exactly does the new work from home law say?
Labor Protection Act B.E. 2566 (2023), which was published in the Royal Gazette, also states that employers may agree to allow employees to be digital nomads and work from home or remotely if their jobs can be completed outside of the office. Employers must prepare this agreement in writing.
The agreement, which can take the form of an e-document, should specify the duration of the agreement, working hours, overtime hours, days off, the type of leave employees are entitled to, the scope of work, the scope of supervision, the procurement of work-related equipment, and related expenses.
Employees have the legal right to refuse any communication with their bosses outside of working hours unless otherwise agreed upon in advance.
Employees who work from home or any other location have the same rights as those who work in an office, according to the law.
New work-from-home culture
The most recent labour law amendment reflects Thailand’s growing work-from-home culture. The government issued clear guidelines for civil servants working outside the office late last year.
The regulation, issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and effective October 7, 2022, allows supervisors in state agencies to assign their subordinates to work from home where appropriate. It also encourages flexibility and the provision of co-working spaces, so long as public services, work efficiency, and government agency missions are not jeopardized.
“We must adapt to the changing environment.” “The government sector needs to be agile, flexible, and adaptable,” Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokesperson told Thai PBS.
Other countries’ work from home laws
While technology has long allowed people to work from home, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that cemented the practice. Employers not only realized that work can be done outside of the office and that employees working remotely are no less diligent, but employees also became acquainted with how to fulfill their duties and deliver work from home.
Workers in the United States spent nearly 30% of their workdays at home as of December 2022. Since 2010, the US Telework Enhancement Act has been in effect.
During the pandemic, several countries embraced the work-from-home concept and enacted legislation to assist people in transitioning to this work mode.
Taiwan, for example, passed a new work-from-home regulation in 2021 that requires employers to provide remote workers with the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs, including ergonomically sound work equipment and up-to-date software. Employers must also pay for any maintenance of such tools and equipment, as well as provide mental and physical health education and training to ensure the well-being of their remote employees.
In addition, in 2021, Spain issued a new law requiring all remote work arrangements to be made in writing and on a voluntary basis. It also requires employers to cover remote work expenses and conduct a risk assessment of remote employees’ workspaces.
Denmark’s work-from-home law will be amended in 2022. Remote workers’ well-being is better protected under the revised version, with employers required to ensure that employees have the necessary workstation, furniture, and equipment to perform their duties. This includes a table, a screen that can be adjusted, a chair, and adequate lighting.
Australia’s “Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act” went into effect last December, allowing employees to challenge their employer’s refusal or failure to respond to a flexible work arrangement request.