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BANGKOK 25 May 2019 06:53
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wangsuda

Thai Labor Law And Severance Pay

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to the OP, if you are the one deciding not to renew your contract, then you shouldnt be due for any severance pay as it is your decision. what makes you think that you are due for severance pay?

It's called gathering information. Where I come from, that's a good thing and generally not treated with disdain. FYI, I am not the one in the scenario I posted. I am resigning for a sixth time at my current company.

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Oops- my face is red. I admit I simply read the first part of your OP, Wangsuda, and assumed the situation was a standard "teacher being fired or laid off and they won't pay severance." Actually, if you resign, then as Donna says they don't owe you jack. Sorry- them's the rules.

As to the teacher with no contract- it's going to be awful hard going proving you were employed, etc.- but in fact you ARE covered by labour law- even illegal immigrant labour would be. However, you would also be guilty of a number of other offenses and you would have to take responsibility for those in claiming severance pay.

Markg, if your situation is exactly the same as OP, you don't have any recourse, either. You decided to leave; from a labour law point of view it was your problem to plan for what happens next. Severance is to give you a benefit when you didn't get to decide when to leave and didn't plan for a period of potential unemployment.

On the other hand, if you are asking if I know of cases where people have successfully claimed severance, there are many- even one or two somewhere on threads on this forum (don't remember offhand; will try to look over the next few days but very busy right now).

Good luck to the person in the OP- it's better to give them a really good reason to fire you and THEN claim severance... :o

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Actually, the scenario is that a sixth contract is offered, it just isn't accepted. Everyone parts on good terms . . . until the mention of severance pay!

Yes, as already said, if the employee 'severs' the contract - or effectively severs it by not re-signing - there would be no recourse to severance pay, unless the employee's contract specifically allows for this or if constructive dismissal could be argued, ie: the employee was forced out by the unreasonable behaviour and and unreasonable practices of the employer.

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Actually, the scenario is that a sixth contract is offered, it just isn't accepted. Everyone parts on good terms . . . until the mention of severance pay!

Yes, as already said, if the employee 'severs' the contract - or effectively severs it by not re-signing - there would be no recourse to severance pay, unless the employee's contract specifically allows for this or if constructive dismissal could be argued, ie: the employee was forced out by the unreasonable behaviour and and unreasonable practices of the employer.

Thank you. That information dovetails nicely with TerryLH's information.

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I wonder what would happen in the OP's case, if the 6th contract significantly differed from the preceding contracts.

for example, the basic terms and conditions of work, or salary were changed.

If a teacher is used to working for (say) 40k a month, doing 20 hours a week, working from 7.45 to 4.30pm.

What if they (say) offered in the new contract, 38k a month, 22 hours a week, working from 7.30 to 5pm.

The teacher may then decide to not sign the new contract due to it not being the same as the previous ones.

His job still exists, and they'd have to get a new teacher in to do it...........so would he be able to claim severence pay?

I think in the UK the above might be construed as 'constructive dismissal' and you could claim against that........they basically made you an offer that forced you to refuse it. (Yes i know we are not in the UK now, i'm just giving it as an example)

I have a friend in a similar situation to the OP. Worked full time in a school for 3 years, though via an outside agency. That agency has now lost the contract and the staffing of the English dept will be done directly by the school. The new contract differs from the agency contract in salary and hours of work.

Has my friend severed his contract? No.

The contract will expire on April 1st and that is that........isnt it?

If he doesnt sign the new school (technically new employer) contract, would he have a claim agains the agency? Surely the agency made no agreement or promise other than to pay him up to and including April 1st.

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to the OP, if you are the one deciding not to renew your contract, then you shouldnt be due for any severance pay as it is your decision. what makes you think that you are due for severance pay?

It's called gathering information. Where I come from, that's a good thing and generally not treated with disdain. FYI, I am not the one in the scenario I posted. I am resigning for a sixth time at my current company.

sorry, wangsuda. my post was not meant to come across as agressive. apologies if it was taken the wrong way. :o

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If you look at Thai Labour law the word termination is always used with severance. IE when a contract reaches the end of it's contractual period, that is it as there was no termination. Termination means in this context terminating employnment before the end of the contractual period. IMO

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And also people......yearly contracts are exactly that, a contract for one year. if the school or company want to change your salary or conditions then they can. you have no recourse other than to find another job/contract that is better.

Of course most employers like to keep their employees relatively happy. at my school a lot of the teachers are grumbling that the annual pay rise is less this year (300 baht a month less). and some can't comprehend that a 12 month contract is exactly that. a contract for 12 months.

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I have a friend in a similar situation to the OP. Worked full time in a school for 3 years, though via an outside agency. That agency has now lost the contract and the staffing of the English dept will be done directly by the school. The new contract differs from the agency contract in salary and hours of work.

Has my friend severed his contract? No.

The contract will expire on April 1st and that is that........isnt it?

If he doesnt sign the new school (technically new employer) contract, would he have a claim agains the agency? Surely the agency made no agreement or promise other than to pay him up to and including April 1st.

Only possible claim (not easy) would be redundancy, against the agency as they lost the contract with the school.

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If you look at Thai Labour law the word termination is always used with severance. IE when a contract reaches the end of it's contractual period, that is it as there was no termination. Termination means in this context terminating employnment before the end of the contractual period. IMO

I would disagree with you, Loaded, and have seen cases here to back up my opinion. If multiple past contracts didn't mean some increasing obligation on the part of the employer, once again there would be no reason for any employer to have real 'full time employees' with benefits, and no one would ever have to pay severance. Thai law is just as liberal as Japanese law when it comes to labour, and the general interpretation of a repeated contract is that the employee is a full-time employee and due benefits. Thus, if the contract is not renewed after many years, it is interpreted as 'termination.' You will note that non-renewal of contract is *not* listed as an exception to severance pay in the law.

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If you look at Thai Labour law the word termination is always used with severance. IE when a contract reaches the end of it's contractual period, that is it as there was no termination. Termination means in this context terminating employnment before the end of the contractual period. IMO

I would disagree with you, Loaded, and have seen cases here to back up my opinion. If multiple past contracts didn't mean some increasing obligation on the part of the employer, once again there would be no reason for any employer to have real 'full time employees' with benefits, and no one would ever have to pay severance. Thai law is just as liberal as Japanese law when it comes to labour, and the general interpretation of a repeated contract is that the employee is a full-time employee and due benefits. Thus, if the contract is not renewed after many years, it is interpreted as 'termination.' You will note that non-renewal of contract is *not* listed as an exception to severance pay in the law.

My 'boss' just phoned the Chiang Mai labour office and they said there's been a recent law change so if it's a teacher matter, contact the education office. They said if they are contracted as teachers, severance is not payable. The labour office also said that if a teacher signs a 1-year contract, they understand their employment ends in 1-year at the end of the contract and hence they accept the fact financial obligations of the employer end as well. That's Chiang Mai but as you know IJWT this afternoon they may have a different opinion.

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A very notorious Christian school here in Bangkok (one of the worst) is notorious for making this same 'teachers rules are different' argument- they've been trying it on for a few years now. Doesn't work. They've also been forced to pay severance very recently under standard labour law rules.

Basically, don't use management sources for employee-favourable information! Get a lawyer on the case and they'll pay. The fines they incur if the MOL have to get involved are considerable. These are national laws, so if a local office isn't obeying them, you could probably report them, too.

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A very notorious Christian school here in Bangkok (one of the worst) is notorious for making this same 'teachers rules are different' argument- they've been trying it on for a few years now. Doesn't work. They've also been forced to pay severance very recently under standard labour law rules.

Basically, don't use management sources for employee-favourable information! Get a lawyer on the case and they'll pay. The fines they incur if the MOL have to get involved are considerable. These are national laws, so if a local office isn't obeying them, you could probably report them, too.

The normal procedure at the labour office in Chiang Mai is that the teacher goes to the office and makes a complaint. The officer handling your case will contact the school to confirm the school's version of events. There is then a meeting at the labour office when both sides need to show the office their evidence (witness or documentary). The officer will try to negotiate a compromise. If one of the two sides refuses to compromise, the teacher has the right to request the case is transferred to the labour court. The labour court will supply a court lawyer to help prepare the complaint free of charge, although the lawyer won't attend court. In the court, the 3 judges only really want to hear from the teacher and the representative of the school. The judges won't allow any irrelevant diatribe - 'they promised me...', 'he said...' that sort of stuff. Evidence, direct testimony and labour law will be used to judge the case. Labour law strongly supports the employee.

I've been to the labour court as a teacher and as an employer. I've seen the labour court strongly support teachers regarding infringement, or breaking, of contracts but I have never heard of severance pay for a teacher whose contract expired. It might be possible. Has anyone ever heard of this sort of case before?

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^I have, actually, though for obvious reasons I can't give details. Let's just say I'm familiar with organisations that voluntarily dot all the i's and cross all the t's. I'll try to locate and link the thread re. the Christian school (which I think was crossposted here, though it is a very long time ago).

The interpretation is that as long as the JOB ITSELF still exists, a teacher who is not allowed to remain in the position has effectively been terminated; thus, he is eligible for severance. This is why a distinction is made for truly 'temporary' contract jobs- not temporary employees!!! Otherwise, as I previously mentioned, there would be no full-time employees and no benefit obligations for any employer- which is why labour law is necessary.

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^I have, actually, though for obvious reasons I can't give details. Let's just say I'm familiar with organisations that voluntarily dot all the i's and cross all the t's. I'll try to locate and link the thread re. the Christian school (which I think was crossposted here, though it is a very long time ago).

The interpretation is that as long as the JOB ITSELF still exists, a teacher who is not allowed to remain in the position has effectively been terminated; thus, he is eligible for severance. This is why a distinction is made for truly 'temporary' contract jobs- not temporary employees!!! Otherwise, as I previously mentioned, there would be no full-time employees and no benefit obligations for any employer- which is why labour law is necessary.

I agree and this is an interesting read which seems to state that severance can actually kick in earlier than a full year of employment with non-renewal of a contract by the employer:

http://www.worldwideconsulting.com/thailand.htm

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