The Social Security Office (SSO) is warning employers hiring migrant workers on a temporary work contract to abide by a new regulation requiring them to register their employees for social security coverage, which would entitle them to proper healthcare and compensation in the event of work-related injuries.
The warning was met with opposition from employers who cited a 2015 regulation by the Prime Minister’s Office, which contains no requirement for such registration.
The employers have vowed to protest against the new regulation until it is removed, according to Chaiwat Withitthammawong, president of the Tak-based industrial council.
On Nov 8, the SSO issued an announcement that makes it mandatory for employers to strictly comply with Section 64 of the executive decree on the management of migrant workers and their jobs. That announcement was mentioned in the letter the SSO sent to employers nationwide warning them about the registration.
Required to be submitted for social security registration is either the worker’s border pass record or a document issued by their country of origin for temporary employment in Thailand. This applies only to nationals of countries sharing borders with Thailand.
Previously, the border pass record could not be used to register for social security benefits as only passport numbers and work permits were allowed for the registration. Many temporary workers had neither.
Some employers kept renewing the temporary work contracts instead of seeking full-time workers, which would involve a costly and tedious process.
They also avoided registering the temporary workers with the Social Security Fund, according to Adisorn Kerdmongkol, coordinator of the Migrant Working Group (MWG).
According to the Human Rights and Development Foundation, 7,977 out of 10,371 temporary migrant workers working for 512 employers in factories in Tak are not registered under the social security scheme.
Workers that do not require social security registration include housework, farming, livestock raising and fishery, said Boonchob Suthamanuswong, permanent secretary for labour.
He said in other types of work, however, employers are committing an offence if they intentionally evade the responsibility of registering or if they fail to register their temporary workers with the SSO.