Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap praised the 300-baht daily minimum wage policy yesterday, saying it had not resulted in job losses.
In the ministry's announcement of its achievements over the past year, he said it had been successful in keeping the unemployment rate low at about 0.4% of the workforce despite the massive flooding that hit the country last year.
The minister gave himself 5.5 out of 10 points for his work performance.
The ministry launched the 300-baht minimum wage in seven provinces in April, Mr Padermchai said, adding that it will be rolled out nationwide on Jan 1.
The ministry had succeeded in convincing business operators not to lay off staff despite the wage rise, he said.
Mr Padermchai cited Bangkok, where the employment rate has remained steady despite the wage increase.
Meanwhile, although 83% of employers said they would be affected by the minimum wage hike, 99% said they accepted it and were able to make adjustments to accommodate it, he said.
The ministry also succeeded in helping labourers willing to work overseas cut procedural expenses from 300,000 baht to 70,000 baht a person on average using government-to-government methods.
"We will ask the Social Security Office to offer loans to labourers who want to work overseas, and the move should reduce the burden of paying high interest," Mr Padermchai said.
The ministry is also contemplating increasing maximum compensation for workers who suffer industrial accidents or illnesses from 300,000 baht to 1 million baht, he said.
But Chalee Loysoong, chairman of the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, said the ministry's performance had been unsatisfactory. He said the minimum wage had been increased in only seven provinces, although the Pheu Thai Party had promised to raise it in all provinces.
"As for the 300-baht minimum wage and 15,000-baht salary for graduates with bachelor's degrees, I cannot give them a pass because business operators also include other employee benefits when calculating salaries," he added.
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- Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan