Government aid readied for SMEs as 300-baht wage causes 2,500 layoffs | Bangkok Post: news

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2,500 jobs axed as daily wage hike bites

Cabinet okays package to help 300,000 SMEs

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  • Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan, Chatrudee Theparat & Patsara Jikkham
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Almost 2,500 workers were laid off in the first five days after the 300-baht daily minimum wage was enforced nationwide on Jan 1, Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap says. 

The minister's remark came on the same day that the cabinet approved a package it claimed would ease the strain on the almost 300,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and create about 320,000 new jobs.Mr Padermchai quoted the Social Security Office (SSO) as reporting that 2,479 workers were laid off from Jan 2 to 6 after the wage increase took effect.The 300-baht minimum daily wage had already been in effect since last April in seven pilot provinces, including Bangkok. There were 243,141 workers laid off from April to December last year, the minister said.The cabinet Tuesday approved a package to ease the wage strains.Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the package involves:- Corporate tax exemption for the first 300,000 baht of profit, up from 150,000 baht for SMEs with revenues of less than 30 million baht a year.About 210,000 SMEs will benefit from this measure while the government is expected to lose 2.8 billion baht a year.- A reduction in the tax paid by small-and medium-sized hotels from 80 baht per room to 40 baht per room for three years. This measure will cost the government some 14.16 million baht a year.- An increase in the budget for civil servant training to match the current economic situation. Job training and seminars held by state agencies are typically organised in provincial hotels.- The extension of measures already in place in the seven pilot provinces.These measures will be extended until Dec 31 this year across all provinces.Among those measures is the Social Security Fund (SSF), which is providing 10 billion baht in soft loans to boost the liquidity of SMEs.Other measures include: reducing employers' contributions to the SSF from 5 per cent to 4 per cent; tax deductions of 1.5 times that of wage hike payments; soft loans from the SME Bank; and guaranteed loans from Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation.Mr Kittiratt said the cabinet also authorised the Finance Ministry to study the feasibility of cutting the...

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