Housemaids: Right to day off & holidays

New law gives maids one day off per week & time off when sick. Still not covered by law: minimum wages & work hour limits.


For more on domestic workers' rights see Friday's editorial here and today's commentary by Sanitsuda Ekachai here.

Click button to listen to Domestic Worker Rights download

LABOUR RIGHTS

Housemaids get days off, paid leave

14/11/2012
Penchan Charoensuthipan

More than four million maids employed in houses nationwide will be entitled to at least one day off a week under new regulations to improve their working conditions, effective from Friday.

Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap signed the amendment to the ministerial regulation on Oct 30.

Under the new regulation, domestic workers are entitled to at least one day off each week, plus 13 traditional paid holidays a year, six days paid annual leave after one year of employment, and three days of paid sick leave a year.

The new rules also require employers to pay wages directly to maids who are younger than 18.

Employers are prohibited from paying workers' wages to third parties, including job brokers.

Pakorn Amorncheewin, director-general of the Labour Protection and Welfare Department, warned that employers would be fined up to 20,000 baht if they failed to give their maids at least one day off each week or do not pay them during their entitled sick leave.

Employers could face a jail term of up to six months and/or a fine of 100,000 baht if they failed to pay wages to their maids who worked on official holidays.

However, a human rights advocate warned the new rules will not work without proper enforcement, voicing continued concerns about a lack of public information and protection for domestic workers' rights.

Surapong Kongchantuk, of the Lawyers Council of Thailand's human rights subcommittee, said although the Labour Ministry has amended its regulations to improve the rights of domestic workers, the public -- particularly employers and their maids -- were left in the dark.

He said no amendments were made to several key issues related to domestic workers' rights, including their working hours and wages.

Unlike other workers in the formal sector, household maids' minimum daily wages have not been protected, he said.

Mr Surapong said domestic workers receive wages below the minimum rate set by the government.

(Source: Bangkok Post, LABOUR RIGHTS, Housemaids get days off, paid leave, 14/11/2012, Penchan Charoensuthipan, link


Labour Rights Vocabulary

domestic worker - a person who does work around the house such as cooking, cleaning and looking after children (See Wikipedia)
domestic - in the home, related to activities in the home 

maid - Same as "domestic worker"
housemaid - Same as "domestic worker"

rights - something you are legally or morally allowed to do or have สิทธิ์ (See Wikipedia)
domestic workers' rights

human rights - rights that everyone should have (See Wikipedia)

labour rights - rights that workers should have (See Wikipedia)
domestic workers' rights

employer - companies that hire workers (give them a job and pay) นายจ้าง
employee - workers hired by companies (receive a job and pay) ลูกจ้าง

employment - having a paid job, having work การงาน,  การจ้างงาน
employ (verb) - to give a person a job or work จ้าง, จ้างงาน,  ว่าจ้าง 

working hours - the number of hours a person must work each day in a job

wage - the amount of money earned per hour by a worker ค่าจ้าง, ค่าแรง

minimum - smallest possible จำนวนน้อยที่สุด
minimum daily wages - the smallest amount of money that a company can legally pay a worker

sector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)

the formal sector - people who have permanent jobs (usually at larger companies or government) and fully protected by labour laws
the informal sector - people who have jobs at smaller companies or who are self-employed (example: run noodle stall)

day off - a day when you do not have to work วันหยุด

holiday - a special day when people do not have to work and places such as banks and government offices are all closed วันหยุด
paid holidays

traditional - things (clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time
traditional paid holidays
13
traditional paid holidays a year

official - approved by the government or some authority ที่เป็นทางการ
official holidays

leave - time take off from work, either paid or unpaid การพักงาน

paid leave -
time you take off from work (and are still paid, even though you are not working)
housemaids get days off, paid leave

annual - happening once a year ประจำปี
annual leave
paid annual leave

six days paid annual leave after one year of employment

sick leave
paid sick leave
three days of paid sick leave a year

nationwide - throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ ทั่วประเทศ
More than four million maids employed in houses nationwide

entitled - having the right to have or do something มีสิทธิโดยชอบ
regulations - rules made by the government to control how some activity is done กฎระเบียบ ระเบียบปฏิบัติ ระเบียบ ข้อบังคับ

entitled
to at least one day off a week under new regulations

improve - to make better ทำให้ดีขึ้น
working conditions
new regulations to improve their working conditions

effective - officially begins to be used
new regulations effective from Friday.

amendment (noun) - a change in a law
amend (verb)

regulation
- an official rule that controls the way that things are done กฎระเบียบ ระเบียบข้อบังคับ
ministerial regulation

the Labour Minister signed the amendment to the ministerial regulation on Oct 30.

pay wages
pay wages directly to - pay is give to the worker (not given to another person who then gives it to the worker)
pay wages directly to maids who are younger than 18.

parties - people or companies entering into a business arrangement or deal
third parties - other people (not the employee)

broker - a person or company that buys and sells things for other people (examples: stock broker) นายหน้า
job brokers - a person who provides people with work (for a fee)

Employers are prohibited from paying workers' wages to third parties, including job brokers

employers would be fined up to 20,000 baht if they failed to give their maids at least one day off each week

term - a period of time
jail term - time that a person must stay in jail as punishment for a crime
a jail term of up to six months

fine - an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law ค่าปรับ
a fine of 100,000 baht

failed to pay wages to their maids who worked on official holidays

advocate - someone who strongly and publicly supports someone or something ผู้การสนับสนุน (องค์อุปถัมภก); ผู้สนับสนุน สาวก
human rights advocate

proper
- 1. actual or real จริง (พระราชพิธีพระราชทานเพลิงพระศพจริง); 2. correct, done in the right way
enforcement - making sure a law is obeyed and punishing people if it is not obeyed  การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย
proper enforcement

a human rights advocate warned the new rules will not work without proper enforcement

lack - does not have ขาดแคลน
lack of  information 
lack of protection

concerns - worries; things that people are worried about ความกังวล
continued concerns

voicing continued concerns about a lack of public information and protection for domestic workers' rights.

amended - changed
the Labour Ministry has amended its regulations

left in dark - not given information about something important
the public was left in the dark

key - important คนสำคัญ
issues - an important subject that people are discussing and debating about; subjects that need to be considered ประเด็น
key issues - important subjects (that people need to think about and discuss)

household - a group of people, often a family, who live together ครัวเรือน
household maids' minimum daily wages

rate - อัตรา
minimum rate - the lowest legal wage (rate of pay) for a worker
domestic workers receive wages below the minimum rate set by the government

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer