For immediate release on 3 April 2020
Labor rights organizations submitting letter of petition to Social Security Office
Urging inspection of the registration of migrant employees under the border employment policy
Today (3 April 2020), representatives of migrant worker organizations have handed over a letter of petition to the Secretary General and the Provincial Social Security Office asking the officials to invoke their power per Section 80 of the Social Security Act 1990. In pursuance to the cabinet resolution in February 2015 to ask the Ministry of Labor to develop the policy on the employment of commuter or seasonal migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia per Section 14 of the Alien Working Act 2008, which has since been replaced by Section 64 of the Royal Ordinance Concerning the Management of Foreign Workers’ Employment 2017. The types of work allowed for such employment have to be either menial labor or domestic worker. The Thai government and governments of sending countries including Myanmar and Cambodia have signed their bilateral agreements to allow the use of border pass in lieu of passports when applying for work permits per Section 64 of the Royal Ordinance.
According to the Office of Foreign Workers Administration, as of December 2019, Tak is home to 21,440 migrant workers who have been registered per Section 64 (border employment). And according to civil society organizations which have been receiving complaints from the workers, most of such workers end up being employed in industrial sector including garment factories based in Tak where 723 factories are situated. 479 of such factories or 63% of all Tak’s factories are located in the Special Economic Zone and are allowed conduct the border employment. Such workers are employed more or less like regular workers. And such enterprises are normally not exempted from the requirement to have their workers registered in the social security system as required by the Social Security Act. Sill many factories opt to employ the workers in such manner invoking Section 64 claiming it is temporary work to avoid registering their workers in the social security system. It is a blatant violation of the social security law which obliges an employer with one worker and upward to submit a name list of insured persons, a list of their wages and other statements as required by the Secretary General to the SSO within 30 days since the employees become insured persons. This is to ensure the employees’ access to assurance and seven social benefits offered by the law.
Given the Covid-19 outbreak, many factories have to terminate the employment of migrant employees or have to shut down their operation temporarily. But since they are yet insured under the social security system, the employees are deprived of access to such benefits from the social security fund including the unemployment benefit or other benefits awarded to an insured person per the cabinet resolution when a business has to stop temporarily. By submitting this letter of petition to demand the authorities exercise their power to ensure labor protection according to the law, the migrant workers organizations also want to reiterate the major principle of protection that has to apply to all workers indiscriminately as Thailand has ratified the International Labor Organization Convention no. 111 and to ensure that migrant workers who are employed invoking Section 64 of the Royal Ordinance to take on seasonal work, ad hoc work or homework which appears to be regular work including working in factories and service sector are entitled to benefits as an insured person per the Social Security Act.
For more information, please contact Ms. Jirarat Moonsiri, attorney 089 273 4711
Mr. Suchart Trakoonhuthip, attorney, 086 369 0762