B300 wage rate safe for now, Arak insists

B300 wage rate safe for now, Arak insists

The 300-baht daily minimum wage is still in place, contrary to reports the National Wage Committee decided to cancel the scheme next year and replace it with a wage-float method, deputy permanent secretary for labour Arak Prommanee says.

Workers are still guaranteed at least 300 baht a day as the minimum wage under the provincial wage floating system, he said.

It is not yet clear how much the rate will be raised, but 300 baht a day will be the floor rate.

A feasibility study for the wage-float system was presented by National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) researchers at a seminar on Friday, according to Mr Arak.

Their study weighed the pros and cons of the approach.

For next year's minimum wage, the provincial wage committees will consider whether the rates in their provinces should be increased, Mr Arak said.

Their analyses will be based on inflation rates and the cost of living in each province just as it is now.

They would forward the proposed rates to the National Wage Committee for consideration and its decision will be forwarded to the cabinet.

For the provinces where minimum wages would be increased, Mr Arak said, the criteria will be made clear, such as whether they are in a zone where the economy is good.

The National Wage Committee, chaired by the permanent secretary for labour, will convene to discuss the minimum wage rate in October, he said.

As Labour Ministry permanent secretary Nakhon Silpa-archa is due to retire in October, the committee may have to wait for his replacement to start work before making any decision, he added.

In April, the National Wage Committee agreed to maintain the 300-baht daily minimum wage until the end of this year. On May 1, Labour Day, the Thai Labour Solidarity Committee proposed the daily minimum wage be increased to 360 baht next year, citing the rising cost of living.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed concern about further increases in the daily minimum wage.

"We are building up strength and want people to invest. But 300 baht is almost enough to discourage investors from putting money into Thailand," Gen Prayut said. "If the rate has to jump, I may not agree due to a lack of money."

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