Panel weighs new minimum wage hike

Panel weighs new minimum wage hike

Srettha wants more factors considered

Construction workers eat at a motorway project site in Nonthaburi province in April last year. Apichart Jinakul
Construction workers eat at a motorway project site in Nonthaburi province in April last year. Apichart Jinakul

The tripartite wage committee is considering the factors used to calculate the daily minimum wage, following the government proposal to increase the rate for a second time this year, says the Employers' Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry (EconThai).

The latest wage increase of 2.37% on average, or 2-16 baht a day, took effect on Jan 1. But a new wage rise is possible because, according to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, the current rate is too low for workers, especially those working in the southern provinces.

The minimum wage is expected to increase and take effect in May this year, said Tanit Sorat, vice-chairman of EconThai.

The tripartite wage committee, which consists of representatives from the government, employers and employees, set up two sub-panels to look into the wage calculation.

"It is still unclear what the new wage will be. The sub-panels are considering it and will send a proposal to the tripartite wage committee as soon as possible," said Mr Tanit.

The wage calculation is usually based on factors such as inflation, GDP and labour productivity. Last year, inflation rose by 1.23% from 2022, within the target range set by the Commerce Ministry.

The National Economic and Social Development Council recently decided to downgrade its GDP growth target for 2023 and its outlook for 2024 to 1.9% and 2.7%, respectively.

Based on these factors, the new wage for some workers may be less than 400 baht a day, but workers in certain careers and provinces may see the minimum wage increase to 400 baht a day, according to EconThai. The Pheu Thai Party earlier proposed a minimum wage of 600 baht a day by 2027, starting with a hike to 400 baht this year.

Following the 2.37% increase, minimum wage workers in Phuket earn the country's highest rate of 370 baht per day, while their counterparts in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat in the deep south are paid the lowest daily minimum wage of 330 baht.

"We believe migrant workers will be the main group that benefits from a minimum daily wage of 400 baht because most Thais already earn more than that," he said Mr Tanit.

EconThai expects the number of new graduates to total 400,000-500,000 in March, with many projected to work as freelancers.

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