Hotels seek aid to protect staff

Hotels seek aid to protect staff

Social Security Office to compensate workers

A housekeeper cleans a hotel room. The pandemic is forcing hundreds of hotels to temporarily close.
A housekeeper cleans a hotel room. The pandemic is forcing hundreds of hotels to temporarily close.

Hundreds of hotels are seeking emergency assistance from the government to protect employees during legal temporary closure, which will prompt the Social Security Office to compensate workers.

The Thai Hotels Association (THA) on Friday submitted a letter to the Thai Chamber of Commerce seeking help for operators and employees because of the spread of the coronavirus.

According to Section 75 of the Labour Protection Act, hotel operators have to pay 75% of employees' salaries when shutting down their businesses.

But during tough times when occupancy rates have dramatically dropped, most of them are running out of cash and cannot make those payments to workers, prompting the THA to request more measures to support employees.

Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the chamber, said the THA asked the government to open a registry for hotels that have to temporarily stop operations because of force majeure under Section 79/1 of the Social Security Act. If the government authorises this measure, the office can pay 50% of salaries to employee for 180 days.

"This is an urgent issue for the chamber. We'll submit the request to the centre for the resolution of emergencies, aiming to settle it soon as up to a hundred hotels have suspended their businesses," Mr Kalin said.

A minimum of 27 hotels in Bangkok and 52 in Phuket have announced closure plans.

Mr Kalin said operators in some provinces will not have this problem, as there is a clear official order to close hotels in the area, meaning employees automatically have protection under Section 79/1.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said he asked the THA to submit the letter to both the Tourism and Sports and Labour ministries directly on Monday, with the former to be the mediator for further discussion.

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