Know your rights as a teacher in Thailand
I have had many friends ask me recently about a teacher's rights under Thai Labor Law. So I thought it might be an interesting and useful article for some of you.
Thai Labor Law is interestingly different in several ways, when compared with Labor Law in most English speaking countries.
First, Thai Labor Law has no rules or regulations concerning hiring processes. Is there "affirmative action"? (NO) Can an employer ask for a picture during the interview process? (YES) Can they discriminate? (NO) How does a person who feels discriminated against, in the hiring process, prove discrimination? (MAKE A COMPLAINT TO THE LOCAL LABR INSPECTOR OR SUE THEM)
Second, there are currently nine different sets of legal code in Thai Labor Law that deal ONLY with termination of employment. I know of no other nation that has this many ways of protecting an employee against wrongful termination.
So what does this mean for the teacher in Thailand? It means that schools can place ads like the ones we've all seen, saying things like "Only light skinned people need apply", and other such racist things, because they have no fear of an affirmative action law suit. It also means that a teacher, who knows their rights under the law, can demand to be treated fairly by any employer who wishes to terminate them and (besides a lot of negative naysayers to the contrary) CAN sue and win against a Thai employer. I am an English language consultant to The Labor Courts and there are, on average 25 to 30 lawsuits per year where Non-Thai nationals sue a school in Thailand for wrongful termination. The plaintiff "wins" (i.e. receives a judgment for payment from the defendant) in about 75 to 80 percent of these cases.
I have always been amazed by how little most foreigners and Thai people know about Thai Labor Law. Why wouldn't you want to know what your rights are under the law? If you are ignorant of your rights you can have them easily exploited and, often, unbeknown to yourself.
I have also often been shocked by how often a potential foreign teacher hire does NOT read the entire employment contract before signing it. If you don't read every word of every sentence then it is your fault if you end up being taken advantage of! We don't live in a perfect world.
I'll give you a bit of good, free advice. You don't need to consult an expensive labor lawyer, who speaks English, has an office on Sathorn Road and charges 2,000 Baht an hour. All you need to do is buy the following book. It will be the best 800 Baht you ever spend on legal issues.
"Labour Protection Act, B.E. 2541 (A.D. 1998) with Notifications, Ministerial Regulations and Royal Decrees"
It is published by: Natee International Law Office Limited, 16th Floor, Alma Link Building, 25 Soi Chidlom, Ploenchit Road. (02) 253 - 5157 and (02) 253 - 5369 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nateelaw.com
It is on sale at all Asia Books outlets. If they don't have it, they can order it for you.
(By the way, for the cynics out there, I am NOT getting any money to plug this book. I just think it is a book which every foreigner working in Thailand should own!)
On each left hand page, the law is printed in Thai. On each right hand page it is translated extremely well into English.
If you read this book, you will know more than 99 percent of everybody in Thailand does about Thai Labor Law, including Thai people! It has cleared up many questions and uncertainties for me since I bought it seven years ago.
Did you know, for example, that?
1) Any school that hires you has the legal right to demand that you work 48 hours per week, not 40? (Page 8, Section 23, Paragraph 1) If they put it in the contract and you sign it, you are bound to it. Even if they DON'T put it in the contract, they can ask you (in writing) to come in and work every Saturday, if they want to. That would be a "lawful and equitable, work related request", to quote the law. Even though it's not in the contract, it is each person's responsibility to know their own rights under the law. It is not the employer's responsibility to make sure their employees know the law and many employers I have dealt with hold their cards close to the vest. Now I don't know many teachers that would want to work in a school that tried to enforce this rule or many schools who even know about this rule, let alone want to try to get their teachers to come in every Saturday. But it's an interesting fact to know.
2) You are entitled to a 6 day "annual holiday" once you have been working, continuously, for the same employer for no less than one year? If less than one year, on a pro rata basis. (Page 10, Section 30, Paragraph 1) Your employer is supposed to set the fixed dates of said leave, right in the employment contract. However, they can insert a clause asking you to request said leave days, in order to keep the dates unfixed, if they want to. Teachers who work in schools where there tend to be a lot of last minute, unplanned changes to the academic calendar would probably be asked by their employer to request specific dates themselves, instead of the dates being fixed. You and your employer can negotiate whether said leave days, if unused, are accumulative and do or do not "roll over" into the subsequent contract year.
3) When your employer is calculating overtime pay for you, they must pay you one and a half times the basic hourly pay rate? (Page 16, Section 61, Paragraph 1) How do they calculate your basic hourly rate? If you're paid hourly, it's a no brainer. However, if you're paid a monthly salary your employer must calculate your daily rate at 30, whether there are really 28, 28, 30 or 31 days in the month for which they are calculating. (Page 18, Section 6, Paragraph 1) This includes days you do not work, like Saturday and Sunday. Once they have your daily rate calculated, they must count how many hours you work on a typical work day. This means the hours you are required to be on the work premises, not just the hours you teach. They cannot count lunch when they calculate. So, for example, a teacher with a base monthly salary of 45,000 Baht has a daily pay rate of 1,500 Baht. If they have to be at work, whether teaching or not, from 8 am until 4 pm, and we don't count lunch, they have 7 working hours a day. Their hourly pay rate would be 214 Baht. So an overtime hour would be 321 Baht.
4) If you are part of management and are someone who "has the authority and duty to act on behalf of the employer in relation to the terms of employment, the grant of gratuities, a reduction in basic pay or termination of employment" that you have NO right to overtime pay. (Page 17, Section 65, Paragraph 2)
5) If your employer terminates you for any reason NOT in Section 119 (we'll get to that section a few lines down) they still have to pay you for the 6 days of annual leave, assuming you've been working for them for no less than one year.
6) An employer can suspend you, at only half of your basic daily pay rate prior to suspension, if they wish to investigate an alleged transgression on your part. However, this right must be clearly enumerated in written form in your employment contract and/or any Employee Rules and Regulations forms or handbooks your employer may have you sign. They can only do this for a maximum of seven working days. (Page 32, Section 116, Paragraph 2)
7) An employer can terminate a teacher's employment, and pay them NO severance pay if a teacher is guilty of...(Page 34, Section 119, Paragraphs 1 - 4)
a) Dishonest performance of his duties or the intentional commission of a criminal act against the employer
b) Intentionally causing loss to the employer
c) Performance of an act of negligence which results in severe loss to the employer
d) Violation of the employer's work rules or regulations or orders which are both lawful and equitable when the employer has already issued the employee with a prior written warning, except in a serious instance when the employer is not required to give a prior written warning.
e) Neglect of duties for three consecutive days, without reasonable cause, whether or not a work holiday intervenes.
Warnings are valid for one year from the date of the offense. So if an employer gives you JUST ONE written warning for being late to work, they can fire you the next time you are late to work, as long they give you the advance notice required in the contract. (Which we'll get to below.)
8) Your employer must pay you at your place of employment, unless you have signed a document stating that you forego this privilege. (Page 16, Section 55, Paragraph 1) In employment contracts with teachers who work for me, I have a clause that states "By signing this employment contract, you agree that employer does not have to pay your salary to you at your place of employment (for reasons of safety and security) and that you have no problem with them not doing so." Who wants to carry around hundreds of thousands of Baht, waiting to be held up? Not me! I transfer the salaries into their accounts. It's much safer and they can never claim that you did not pay them.
The following information is not from the book, but from my lawyer.
9) The required advance notice of termination that you and/or your employer are required to give each other is NOT 30 days. It is equal to the number of days in the salary pay cycle agreed upon between the two parties. Sometimes this is 30 days, sometimes not. For example, when I was a Head of Personnel at an international school, we had the 30 day advance notice clause, like almost every other organization. However, after having hired two teachers who turned out to be emotional nightmares after only a few weeks of employment, I asked my lawyer if there was anything I could do. He recommended that, during a new teacher's probationary period, we pay them every Friday. That would make their salary pay cycle once a week, or seven days. So, if a new teacher turned out to be too unstable, irresponsible, unprofessional, etc (and we saw this early on) we could give them just 7 days advance notice of termination of employment. In over seven year of hiring hundreds of people in different capacities I've only had to use this clause 4 times. But I have been glad I had this option, to get rid of nutjobs quickly. Who wants them around for another 27 days? This works both ways. If you don't like the school or a certain coworker, you can give only 7 days notice to quit and then be able to go work somewhere else sooner. However, it must state this in the contract. If this is not discussed in the contract, a judge will look at pay stubs to see the frequency of salary payment.
10) Some teachers operate under the (false) assumption that they can demand that their schools pay them, in cash, at the end of every work day. If you have no employment contract which states otherwise or if you are an hourly or daily employee, you can ask them to pay you, in cash, at the end of every work day. Whether or not they agree to do so is another issue entirely. However, if you are paid a monthly salary, you do not have this right. If you are paid a monthly salary but do not have an employment contract, the judge would look at evidence of you being paid to decide whether you are a monthly salaried employee or not. Even if you are an hourly or daily employee, and your employment contract states that you will be paid once a month, you do not have the right to ask to be paid daily.
11) Since the Thai constitution expressly prohibits Non-Thai citizens from being Thai government employees, we are classified as "Temporary Employees" or อาตราจ้าง in Thai. As such, we fall under the sway of general labor law, NOT the rules and regulations for a Thai government teacher. Why is this important? For example, a person who is under general labor law (i.e. a foreign teacher) is entitled to 30 days of sick leave per year, unless they work in certain other professions, of which teaching is NOT one. I can't remember how many Thai public schools I have consulted for in which the Head of The Foreign Language Department has tried to tell their foreign teachers that they can ONLY take 12 sick days per term, or 24 per year, which is the guideline that Thai government teachers must go by. When I explain to them why this is untrue, many of them answer something like "They are working in a government school, therefore they must follow the same rules and regulations as a government teacher. This is simply incorrect. However, if you take anything coming close to 24 sick days (let alone MORE than 24) in one year, you probably won't have a job the following year. The system tends towards a bit of self regulation.
12) A good "rule of thumb" as to how many minutes late a teacher needs to be before a school should consider them to be late is 10 minutes. In my lawyers experience, 27 years as a labor lawyer, anything less than 10 minutes is usually not considered long enough by a judge. So if any employers reading this have any teachers who are chronically late, either change the contracts for next year or do up an addendum for the current contracts. If you need them to be present and ready to work at 8 am, have their work day start officially at 7:45 or 7:50. That way, assuming they're late again (which is probably a safe assumption) you'll be able to give then written warnings galore. I think it's pretty sad that there seem to be many foreign teachers in Thailand who like to come in late. I had one Australian teacher, at an international school I worked at, who would come in 10 or 15 minutes late almost every day. She would sneak through an empty field behind the school, climb over the fence and sneak through the back of the physical plant, smelling like a wildebeest in heat by the time she got to the classroom. I felt like a junior high school Principal, back home, on a hunt for skipping 7th graders who were "going out back to smoke a joint". Ridiculous!
Well, that's all I can come up with for this month. Hope that some of you can use this info. Good luck to you all and happy teaching!
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I would like to ask are there laws that says specific race should receive this salary like the NES will receive 35k UP, NNES receive NNES and Asians including Indians and Filipinos will only receive 20k to 35k baht?
By Alfred Lopez, Bangkok (23rd January 2023)
Hi, I would like to ask about my situation. I am working in a public thai school. I started last year with 6mos contract after that they decided to renew it for one year apparently me and my new other colleagues wrote a letter requesting for a space to put simple necessities like microwave etc. all of us did sign on the letter they said NO in an instance and the director blamed and fired me in front of everyone just because he thought it’ was my idea, that I’m a bad influence to my new colleagues. He also added while reading it that they will cut my visa effectively on June 1st then he walked out without even listening to my explanation. I felt shocked knowingly that I have been a responsible teacher for the past 6mos. One thing is for sure our head of foreign department hated me, destroyed my reputation not only in the eyes of the director but also to some thai co teachers that I’m working with. I often heard from my Thai co teachers that she spread bad things about me, gossiping things towards me. I felt humiliated in front of everyone esp, I didn’t receive any written or verbal warning that stating about my violations nor advance notice of termination. If they have a problem about my teaching the school should have given a feedback or if it’s about my behavior they should have atleast warn me. Also if the school don’t like me then why they have decided to renew my contract for one year. I don’t understand its unfair he fired me just like that so, later that day I went to educational area to asked for help and they made me wrote what happen and my conditions, they gave a letter that was sent to my school. While waiting for the response of my school I received a message from one of my colleagues that they will cut my work permit. They did, without telling me, the head messaged me that evening that they already cut my work permit which is I know and I have to go in the immigration for the cancellation of my visa. June 2 I went to immigration even paid 500baht for overstaying. I extended my visa for 7days tourist but before June 8 I need to leave Thailand. Do you think my embassy can help me? Where can I get a good lawyer? What are the possibilities?Can I win over public schools if I take legal actions?
Thanks in advance.
By Rose, CM (4th June 2022)
Glad that I saw this. I sent a resignation in my school but the owner of the school talked to me. He said that I can resign but he's not going to give my cancellation letter so that I can't apply to another school. The reason that I decided to resign because he didn't give our full salary since June. But it was not written in the contract that I will have 50% salary. What action should I do?
By Earth, Bangkok (3rd November 2021)
My boss gave me permission to return to England while my school are currently having to work online from home. I verbally agreed to return to Thailand if the school reopened. He said it looks ‘likely’ the school will reopen 14th June (even though the situation is very serious and there’s no confirmation the school will open). I said I am happy to continue working online from the UK but do not want to confirm returning to Thailand until there is full evidence and confirmation that the school can safely return. He declined my offer of continuing to teach online (despite the fact we have at least 2 weeks left of online teaching) even though it is becoming clearer everyday that things don’t look hopeful for reopening and has instead terminated my contract. We get paid at the end of each month and I have worked up to the 21st May which means I will be owed almost a full months pay on 31st May. However, the school are not going to pay me because I wouldn’t return. Is this lawful?
By Sass, Thailand (21st May 2021)
Can a foreign teacher have another job as a servant in a restaurant for saving accommodations fees ?
I'm not kidding, one of the teachers do this .
By T.Mo, Kalasin- Thailand (27th January 2021)
Thank you for clarifying the "Late/Tardiness" part of this blog. I need this in my Homework.
By Christian Dave Cruz, Philippines (2nd June 2020)
So I work for an international school in Bangkok and we are in quite the predicament at this present time. Last week we had a meeting with the new head of HR and she stated, after a long-winded storytime about how a lot of Thai people are suffering financially because of the virus pandemic, there would be salary cuts over the next two months of 10% in May and 40% in June. It was stated that a consent form would be given for our signatures. I asked a simple question of, "what if I don't agree to the salary cuts and refuse to sign?" The response was, "we will cut salaries anyway." I have reached out to legal representation from a friend of a friend and he stated to of course not sign the consent form and that this action was obviously against the law. After doing my own research I found this to be true also since I have a contract until June 30th, 2020. I have also done my own research under "force Majeure" and it states that unless a business closes completely or at least partially then force majeure does not apply. The owner had stated today that he CAN and will cut salaries. My question to you is am I right in that this is illegal or is the owner right regarding salary cuts? Secondly, what can I do if anything? This is my last academic year in Thailand and I just want what was promised to me via my contract. Any help would greatly be appreciated of course.
By Spence, Bangkok (27th April 2020)
Thank you for the super helpful information.
I was wondering, if we are given 30 days sick leave by law, why in my contract does it only allow for 10? If I happen to use more than 10 and they try to deduct from my salary, what actions can I take?
Also, if the school is asking me to work overtime (even if it states in my contract that some overtime hours maybe required for school activities) is there an amount of advanced notice they must give before requiring the overtime? And are they required to pay me based on the hourly wage calculated from my 30 day salary?
My work day is also over 8 hours, is this legal or does every hour after 8 need to be paid as overtime?
Thank you for your clarifications!
By Amy, Bangkok (28th September 2019)
What should we do if the school say we not do letter of reference we use a standard certificate of employment?
The new school is asking for more information ... like letter of reference.
By Luck, Bangkok (4th September 2019)
I work for an agency who I have been with for 2 years. I get no sick day or annual leave pay, also the contract for each term ends right before the big 2 month songkran holiday which is upsid but the October holiday which isn’t the end of the contract is also unpaid. I’m just trying to figure out if I am being completely miss treated as an employee... for example I had a bike accident which required me to have a week off and I couldn’t get any sick pay or any holiday for that. It’s just getting to me there is no support from my agency. Thanks
By Libby, Phuket (5th June 2019)
Hi Steve,quick question though,I've been trying to look for information about the validity of a contract.My current school wants to hire me directly but in the contract it says " I cannot work for the same school directly within 2 years after the contracts end",I really wanna stay. I would like to know your advice on the matter.
By Bing, Bangkok (27th March 2019)
Please can you advise me on breach of contract by the school. It’s been 7 months now and they have not sorted out my work permit as they kee losing documents and many delays on their end whereby I have to keep getting a tourist visa and they don’t reimburse me for any visa costs or “new” documents they suddenly need from time to time. This entire situation has become frustrating as it’s eating away at me financially and they don’t seem intent to resolve the situation. My contract is for a year, so another 5 months. I need to apply for a new tourist visa which will take me up until a month before my end of contract. What can I do?
By Kate, Bangkok (19th March 2019)
Greetings Steve. Thank you for giving the Viewers the opportunity to present their issues. But I did not imagine that such unjust dismissal will too happen to me. I am a teacher for 23 years and I have been in this government school for 5 years ( so far the longest-stayed foreign teacher in this school) and just last week I was told that the school will no longer renew my contract for the next school year ( they usually give a school information form indicating the renewal of the contract for the next school year and that you indicate whether you agree to it or not). When I asked them the reasons for this, they told me that it’s because of several negative feedbacks they hear about me which were never placed into writings and that they still have to write them down and will be given at the end of this 28th of February. For these ample amount of years working with this school, never did I receive any consultation nor my attention was called regarding my behavior and not even a written warning. There was no proper processing I may say prior to my dismissal and is in contrast to what was stipulated in the Clause 8 # 6 of the contract - “One account of misconduct /unsatisfactory performance will result in a written warning or receive 2 written warnings upon the 1st two counts before the 3rd count will result in automatic termination without notice.” Can I file a case against this school on this ground? What are my chances in this case. Please enlighten so I will know what to do before next month comes. Thank you.
By May, Phanat Nikhom, Chonburi (10th February 2019)
Is your senior leader allowed to ask to see your phone? Any advice would be much appreciated as this happened to me recently, much to my surprise
By Jan Waterhouse, Thailand (13th September 2018)
Hi Steve, the local Rajabhat wants to assign 5 classes (packed with students) and also demand we sit at our desks all day when not teaching. What are the actual guidelines for these foreign teacher contracts? Normal university hours (outside of crazy land) are generally 2 office hours per class.
By Erich, Sakon Nakhon (7th June 2018)
Does this help? It is a link to the book for free online: https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/49727/125954/F-1924487677/THA49727%20Eng.pdf
By Tom Tuohy, Shangri La (31st October 2017)
I searched Asia Books for the publication you mentioned at the beginning of this article. The results come back "Not found". Could you please publish or send me the ISBN? Thanks very much.
By Frank L, Chachoengsao, Thailand (31st October 2017)
If you sign a contract that has different thigs in it compared to the law (for instance the days of sickness or the notice period), does that mean the contract will be held up in a labour court, or will it be thrown out as it does not follow the law? Basically, do you sign away your rights by signing a contract that is different to labour law?
By Neil, bangkok (22nd August 2016)
Hi,,,,i just want to ask if a foriegn workers can get maternity leave or not,,,
By Sonam , Belle park (6th April 2016)
Very interesting tips! Thanks for sharing.
I am dealing as best as I can with Thai labor laws and as I can't find any info regarding one question I have and as you seem to have done your homework, I ask you just in case: do you know if the sick leave is prorated as the annual leave is?
If someone starts working with me let's say 1st July 2015, are they still entitled to 30 days sick leave for 2015 (that seems a lot!) or can the sick leave be prorated to 15 days?
Hoping you can help!
By Isabelle, Phuket (22nd January 2015)
Hi Steve- can you help me find a lawyer to deal with problems I have with my agency? They are in breach of our contract and will not respond to my questions/concerns.
By Karl, Isaan (1st February 2014)
Hi, I will go to buy that book and thank you for all advices they are extremly helpfull!!!
I am working in the government school. This year in october they said few days before 7.10 that we will not have holidays but that we need to come to school every day and sign in. I told them a long time before that I will go on a trip in october and they said no problem we will have holidays in october anyway! But close to the holidays date they told me that I should have business or sick days. In my contract we get 10 business days and no holidays or any other free days apart from sick days.
Ok I took 5 business days and ask doctor to give me medical certificate for the rest. I already got a kidney stone and I still get some pain in my kidneys several times. But when I bring them medical certificate for 10 days they said that certificate should be from hospital and not from clinic. I check my contrat and is written that I should provide them with medical certificate from officialy acepted psyhician and I check with doctor he is offical doctor and he is having a clinic and at the same time he is working in the hospital.
1. I would like to know is any law that school can tell you to sign in or be in the school when students have holidays? In our school was that from 7-27.10 but they demand from as to come and sign in everyday!
2. If is written in the contract certfied medical pshycian, can they demand that we need to bring certificate from the hospital?
3. If I can not get non B visa and I don't get it because they give me the wrong info what sort of document's I need to teach and the contract is for one year in cas that because of no visa they cancel it. What they should do? In contract is written that they need to cancel it 3 months in advance. That mean that the need to give me salary at least for 3 months?
4. Is any other free days or holidays appart from bussines days if you are on one year contract? What i notice here should be 6 days paid leave but if you already got business days is that the same? Or thay just did not put that in the contract...
By Franci, Khon kaen (5th November 2013)
I am American and have been working as an English teacher at a government school in Bangkok under contract for almost two years. I am married to a Thai woman who is now pregnant and due to give birth the first week of September. Yesterday, August 7th, I asked my employer for some time off without pay for the first ten days of September and was denied. Today August 8th they told me that I could take no time off and I should finish out the month and that they are letting me go. According to my contract I am entitled to a 30 day notice before being let go. They gave me a 23 day notice. I was upset and told them I didn't see the point in finishing out the month so I left. So my questions to you are, 1) Am I entitled to time off without pay to be with my wife while she gives birth and then have a few days to take care of her and my newborn baby? 2) Can I sue them for payment for the remainder of my contract which goes up to March 2014? 3) In case I've missed anything; What do you suggest I do?
By Louis, Bangkok (7th August 2013)
I have worked at the same government high school for 4 years now. This semester I did not receive my schedule before school started on Nov 1. When I did arrive at school I was given what I was told was a temporary schedule of 15 classes. I've never had less than 19 and usually have 20 or 21. I was told the discrepency was the computer's fault (ok) and that on friday nov 2 I'd have my full schedule of 20 classes. Friday I was told I'd have said schedule Monday the 5th. Monday I was told Thursday the 8th. On thursday the 8th I was actually given a new schedule showing 20 classes but then promptly told that because of problems "in the office" I'd have to wait until monday (today, nov 12) for the schedule to be implemented. Today I was told "maybe not this week". Every day that passes I'm losing money as I get paid by the class. None of the half dozen other falang teachers are complaining because they are all benefitting by having classes that are supposed to be mine. The thai staff keep telling me to be patient while they continually move the line back. I'm pretty sick of it. Do I have any rights here? Will the MOL listen to this kind of compaint?
By Rich, bangkok (11th November 2012)
Hi Steve, Thanks for the information. I found it very interesting. I am working at an International school in Bangkok (that prides itself on being one of the top 4) and in the contract, teachers are only given 10 days sick leave. I am from the United States, and was contracted as an overseas hire, coming from a highly reputable international school in South East Asia previous to this job posting I now find myself in. I thought 10 days was scant, as before we received 30, and now learning in direct opposition with the Thai Law. I started researching about Teacher's Rights, as I feel this school is not interested in Teacher's Rights and I am concerned about the lack of transparency. During a recent conversation with my section Principal, I was informed that as a new teacher I am under probation. In international schools, does a probationary period work both ways. If a school is violating a teacher's rights or a teacher is put in a position where maintaining professional standards of performance are not possible, can a teacher let the school go without penalty of breaking contract?
Thanks for your help.
By Jeneane, Bangkok, Thailand (11th September 2012)
My wife has been living a working in BKK for 2 years. She is a very devoted and hard working mother of three. She is also a US citizen. Currently my wife works for a Thai school, she is one of the most hardest working and therefore respected teachers amongst her students and parents. So we were shocked to learn that today she was fired (by phone) citing the reason was that there was not adequate cover for her Christmas vacation of a few days. Which was agreed before hand and adequate cover was made. My wife has never given any warnings in the past and never had a single bad word said about her. The thing is that she is not a direct hire and is working through and agent for the school (who has probably 20 - 30 + teachers working for them). Do the same laws and regulations apply to her as a direct hire and who is / should be responsible for this decision ( I am told it came from the school ) and what should I do about this unreasonable, unexpected treatment my wife has received? Please advise!
By Neil G, Bangkok, Thailand (3rd January 2012)
YES, they must give you notice. If you haven't already, I would go ahead and sue them. Sorry about the incredibly slow response :(
By Steve Crawford, Bangkok (30th July 2011)
As I understand from the labour law, you are entitled to 6 days' annual leave after having completed a full year of work.
The only information I can gather about the second year is that the employer may choose to assign more annual leave days.
So, how many days would one have after having completed the first year, going into the second? Is it generally that you get your 6 days' entitlement after month twelve and then get an extra day every two months after, or do you get 6 days plus the full 6 days for the second year (therefore 12 days upon completing your first year)?
By Jay, Lampang (13th January 2011)
Graham to the best of my knowledge, probationary is 30 days, therefore the contract contradicts law. Therefore it's void.
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (29th November 2010)
If a teacher's contract states that they are on a 90 day probationary period does that absolve the employer from the legal requirement to give 90 days notice?
By Graham Rogers, Bangkok (28th November 2010)
Graham Rogers you are 100% correct. 30 days notice or wage inlieu of notice. Contact the Ministry of Labour and file charges. Since it's Thailand, I'm not sure what will happen but, it is something that many foreigners in Thailand need to do. Steve can give you bettter advice then I can on the exact procedures. I know, I had a problem in Thailand some years ago, I went to the Ministry of Labour, and eventually filed charges with the local police station, for abuse of police power. Yea the director tried to have the local police scare me. That's didn't work either, A few days later, the director and I meet at the police station for " nego " he paid me on the spot.
By Kanadian, Jiangxi China (25th November 2010)
I have just been sacked by my school totally out of the blue despite having a positive teaching assesment only last week. They claimed they had a late bad reference from my previous school but my previous school not only deny that but sent me a copy of the reference which was in fact fine. I was given no notice and told to leave straight away, literally that minute. They have told other teachers that I had some serious problem with my previous school and maybe said that to parents also. It is a total lie. I assumed I can do nothing about it but according to this article for a start they must give me notice.
By Graham Rogers, Bangkok (24th November 2010)
Steve perhaps you can advise us if the website in English is up and running, yes it would refer to the Ministry of Labour Act.
By Kanadian, (5th June 2010)
Tommy, Bangkok I'm sorry but a TOFEL or TEFL or CELTA is not a degree. Under Thai law a degree is required. But then, the Ministry of Education ( what a contradiction ) made new rules a few years ago. The 3rd section of the new rules to get a NON B is the employer or school write " this white boy is young with no degree but we can't afford a real teacher as the school director is buying his mistress a new house" or something like that
By Kanadian, the beach (5th June 2010)
Steve could you clear something up for me. I know many schools will not accept TEFL only teachers, but is it true that if you are employed by a school and have a non-immigration B visa that the Thai authorities will not grant you a working visa without a degree of some sort? Also would a CELTA on top of a TEFL qualify. I am being told by agencies that they cant get working visa's because i only have a tefl???
Thanks for your time
By Tommy, Bangkok (21st May 2010)
I wrote to you earlier about whether or not a teacher being terminated from their contract even though they were given a one month's notice, could still request severence pay. You said they could. So now I'm in a situation like I stated before. Can you please tell me where I need to go to file a claim or a phone number I need to contact someone so I can start filing a claim? Also, what do I need to have to file the claim? Any help would be great. A phone number or address. Every time I talk with someone they give me a different number to call and I feel like I'm getting the run around. Plus, almost no one speaks any English. It's very frustrating. Thanks again for your help.
By Bubba Richards, Bangkok (20th April 2010)
Dear Amand Jentges,
Interesting story. If it says in your contract about paying you extra for the house, I believe they MUST, thats your right.
But on the other hand you already told them you dont need one. But you want now and they already gave it to another one. Thats also their right.
Now, I believe you can ask them for your house extra but can not stay in the campus. just do like that. Nothing to lose. And fair for both sides.
But I would like to tell you a little detail. Almost same story happened to my friend. He asked for his rightful house extra and they canceled his contract. Good luck
By BARIS, Khon Kaen (7th April 2010)
I have been teaching English to undergraduate students in a small university since February 2008. The university offers free accommodation at the campus, which I refused during my first contract because I had a second very well paid Sunday-job, and could easily afford 5,000 Baht rent for my house in Lampang. This company stopped their courses in October 2009, which means that since October I have to live with approximately 10,000 Bath after all my monthly fees are paid. My new year contract starting on October 1 2009 provides accommodation by the university during the working period, but when I asked for a house on the campus, I was told that there is no accommodation available at the moment. I have the Labour Protection Act B.E.2541, but I haven't found any clause relating to this problem. So I would be very pleased if you could tell my whether my employer is forced by law to pay for accommodation (because it is part of my contract) or not. Thank you very much in advance, and I am looking forward to hearing from you, Yours sincerely Amand Jentges
By Amand V. Jentges, Lampang Thailand (7th April 2010)
I am extremely happy that more and more foreigners are speaking out about Thai Labor Law.
However, being that you have so much experience on the subject, can you please tell me where do private Thai schools fall under the labor law? I just read the two Postbox articles about how teachers (Thai and foreign) in private schools have absolutely NO rights. Is this true?
By Renee, Nonthaburi (24th March 2010)
that's a really sad story you tell, but an all too often one heard. You should stand up and be counted as you say, and don't let them treat you this way. If there's a local newspaper printed in English in your area, you should consider getting a meeting with the editor and telling them your story. Maybe they will have some courage and try to support you since you appear to not have done anything wrong.
I'm sure Mr. Crawford will be able to give you some solid advice as well. I have personally seen situations where blonde, blue-eyed certificate- challenged teachers have been selected above well qualified, certificate-carrying teachers, so this comes as no shock to me at all to hear that you were thought to be less of a teacher simply because you are a Phillipino. The fact is that some shallow Thais like to parade around the "whitey" like some trophy and play the game of one-upman-ship which you mentioned e.g. because a rival decided to pay for farang teachers. It's pitiful really and maybe you should ask yourself whether you are not better off away from a school which is run with this lack of integrity? Just a thought.
Good luck whatever happens and do let us know how it all ends.
By Tom Tuohy, Saudia Arabia (25th February 2010)
Our school is one of the biggest schools in this province. After working for 6 years in this school, the new school director (almost half of year 5 to year 6) told the head of the English Department to terminate 2 Filipino teachers because "the school" wants to hire 2-3 NATIVE Speakers. During our meeting, our head told us that the school director/committee said "The other school(the rival school) has a NATIVE Speaker so why can't we?" since we are the "biggest" school in the province.
According to them, the students gave us good reviews and they keep telling us that they too are in shock to the director's decision. Can we protest about the termination? If we voluntarily withdraw from the school due to this event, should we write a resignation letter?
What other things can you suggest us so we will not be left like a doormat? Can you suggest a win-win solution for this scenario because it's killing us on the inside.
During year 1 to year 4 before this new director arrived, we have been doing well as teachers.
My personally observation is that the director has a sort of "bitterness" against us Filipinos. We did a lot for the school for the past 6 years (camps, seminars and competitions)did placed our school on the map and yet we are treated this way.
Please do help us. This is the first time, after 6 years, knew about our rights. We've trusted them so much and now we are in ruins.
By Rome Ordan, Samutsongkhram (25th February 2010)
Ok, maybe this will be a stupid question but I want to ask:
Are these can be reasons for get fired:
1) Sometimes you are speaking Thai in the classroom (Listen, I am doing this because my students can not even say GOOD MORNING... why? because you thai english teachers sit in the classroom do your make up or talk on the phone)
2) Students don't like you (were you like your teacher when you were at school? And when something happens of course TEACHER is always the guilty one for students)
3) Why you do the same topic too long (I can have 4 hours with my 1 class in a month! 4 hours in a month! And add this that they can not even say GOOD MORNING! Now, if I am teaching them 24 occupations in 4 hours which is a month, it means i taught them occupations in 4 hours in a month! I think I am a good teacher... But they think I am teaching the same topics!!!)
4) You are sometimes punishing the students (I have 50 - 54 students in my classroom. And they love to talk, but thai not english and also talk on the phone! Now, if I stop this phone calls or stop this talking with eachother thing by a punisment... sorry it is my bad because Im thinking the rest of the classroom, i mean the innocent ones who are trying to learn! ohh... my punisment is I gavethem 4 times sit - stand up!!!! At least I dont have a stick in my hand like you!!!)
Anyway, 2 weeks ago I have been told that I can not teach in this school anymore because of these reasons! Without asking my defence or my comments. I told them that this is really stupid. Now.. I know that we farangs are nothing in this country. They smile to your face but kill you from your behind! But this is too much! 2 months ago I was the best teacher in the school and now I am at the bottom!
So, please someone tell me if I can get fired of these reasons. If not, what should I do?
By BARIS, Thailand (19th February 2010)
In order for me to advise you on whether or not I thought the contract was legally binding, I would have to see the entire contract. Is there any way you can email me a digital copy or a scan of it. If I could see it in it's entirety (you can white out the details about yourself and the school or agency if you like) I might be able to help.
By Steve Crawford, Outside myself (4th February 2010)
I was stupid enough to sign a contract with an agency stating that I cannot work directly for the school within 1 year after the contract ends. The contract ends soon and the school would like to hire me and I would like to stay. But I would never sign a following contract with the agency again. It turned out that the only thing they were good in was greed. I would be glad if someone would know a way out of my problem. I would even like to know if this clause in the contract is legal and really binds me.
By Peter, Chonburi (1st February 2010)
By Steve Crawford, The Medulla Oblongata (24th January 2010)
Excellent, very well written and extremely informative.
Good choice for this site
By Anton Nicholas, Roi Et Province (21st January 2010)
Thanks for the feedback, Phil and Tom! Glad you guys liked it. :)
DJ Barry, you're probably right, sadly enough. But at least we know, so we can go to court armed with a few weapons. :)
Of course there is the official legal line that "everyone is equal in the eyes of the law" and there is what, may be, a different reality.
In my experience, Thai Labor Law favors the employee, not the employer, no matter what nationality either one is.
We can represent ourselves, for free, in the system. We don't need to hire an attorney.
I sued a former employer, who was Thai, wealthy and came from a family with a well-known, powerful surname. I represented myself. I knew the law and the judge could see that. I think that the judge didn't want to open a can of worms by judging against a "farang" when that farang knew the Labor Law front to back AND the evidence clearly showed that I had been mistreated by my employer. How would he explain that away? I won exactly what was owed to me according to the letter of the law.
I've also seen many cases where a farang plaintiff walks into the court with an obvious chip on his shoulder against all things Thai and that comes through in his testimony. Quite often, a farang can be his own worst enemy. I've been teaching or administrating in one capacity or another for more than two decades here and I have yet to lose a case where I had strong evidence or a documentary or testimonial nature.
For what it's worth. :)
By Steve Crawford, Bangkok and environs (18th January 2010)
Officially, whether they terminate you or do not renew your contract, severance pay is owed. There are only 6 reasons that an employer can terminate an employee and NOT have to pay severance. They are:
1) Dishonest performance of duties or intentional commission of a criminal against employer
2) Intentional cause of loss to employer
3) Performance of an act of negligence which results in severe loss to employer
4) Violation of employers work rules or regulations (which are both lawful and equitable) when the employer has already issued a written warning, except in a "serious" instance when the employer is not required to issue a prior written warning
5) Neglect of employee's duties for three consecutive work days, without reasonable cause, whether or not a holiday intervenes
6) Imprisonment (of employee) on anything but negligence or petty offenses
(Section 119, pages 33 and 34)
So, unless you have done one of the 6 above no-nos, you are still owed severance pay, whether they terminate you or just do not renew your contract.
By Steve Crawford, Bangkok and environs (18th January 2010)
So I have also read that if a school terminates you without cause and you have been working at that school between 1-3 years, the school is required to pay you 3 months salary. Is this true? What if you have been working for a school for 2 years and they decide to not renew your contract but they give you a 30 day notice. Is the school still required to pay you that 3 months salary? If anyone could answer these questions, I would really appreciate it.
By Bubba Richards, Bangkok (17th January 2010)
Some very interesting stuff there Steve. It should give a lot more hope to those foreign teachers who feel they've been wrongfully dismissed.
By philip, (13th January 2010)
Great write-up but when we (foreign teachers) tell our Thai boss this, I think it will be falling on deaf ears.
By DJ Barry, MT City (13th January 2010)
lots of sound advice for newbies and us old crusties as well!!
There were lots of things there that I didn't know either so many thanks for that.
By Tom Tuohy, Bangkok (12th January 2010)
SorryI do have one problem. I've been in the legal industry for more years then I care to recall. Fact is in Thai law or in Thailand, a Thai teacher is a teacher but a foreign teacher is a " farang". Facts are facts, Thai schools suck ! The pathetic education in this country "sucks". But fact is, nobody cares. If the employer is a dog, save your dimes and nickels then quit. The schools don't care about the students. It's a money game. Don't fool yourself.
By Johnny, land of smiles (11th January 2010)
Good notice.. I also agree with your terminology. I have nego on several occassions with this type of problem. Ignorant and stupid "white folks" who allow school to behave in this manner should be slapped silly!
By Johnny, land of smiles (11th January 2010)