Officials criticise government's bi-monthly salary plan

Officials criticise government's bi-monthly salary plan

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announces the cabinet's resolution to pay civil servants' salaries fortnightly at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announces the cabinet's resolution to pay civil servants' salaries fortnightly at Government House on Wednesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The government's plan to pay state officials twice a month, as a measure to stimulate the Thai economy, has drawn widespread criticism among civil servants across the country.

The plan was unveiled by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin following the first cabinet meeting of his administration on Wednesday. The new payment system was tentatively set to start in January next year.

The estimated number of state officials nationwide was 3 million - with teachers, police and members of the armed forces forming the majority.

In southern Thailand, Prathum Ruangrit, chairman of the Federation of Teachers of the South Region, said the plan could accelerate spending in the government and economic sectors. However, he raised concerns about potential issues as most officials have their salaries automatically deducted by payroll offices to repay loans from savings cooperatives and other financial sources under loan contracts.

In addition, the monthly fixed payments cannot be split into halves, Mr Prathum said.

The twice-a-month payment system might require an increase in personnel within payroll departments, and therefore, the plan should be thoroughly reviewed to assess its advantages and disadvantages, he added.

In the northeastern province of Khon Kaen province, a government official, who requested anonymity, also expressed concern over this cabinet resolution, saying it would disrupt his lifestyle and financial management.

The official said he is obligated to make several monthly payments, including loans from a savings cooperative, bank loans, credit card bills as well as utility bills, all due at the end of the month.

He said the government's intention might be to increase cash flow, but the bi-monthly payment system could also tempt officials to accumulate even more debt. 

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