The government is looking at increasing the salaries of civil servants as a study for a suitable rate is expected to be completed by this month.
Chalermphol Pensoot, director of the Budget Bureau, said on Sunday the Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC) is conducting a study into how the salaries of civil servants and state enterprise personnel will be increased.
After the study is completed, the Budget Bureau and the OCSC will discuss the matter before forwarding it to the cabinet this month, Mr Chalermphol said.
Asked how the increase in the salaries will be funded, he said it can be financed by allocations from either the budget for the 2024 fiscal year or the 2025 fiscal budget.
Even though agencies have already submitted requests for budget allocations for the 2024 fiscal year, there is still a central budget reserved for civil servants' salaries if state agencies do not have enough for the planned salary increase.
An increase can also be financed by the budget for the 2025 fiscal year as the Budget Bureau will propose the 2025 budget to the cabinet in January and there will still be enough time for the bureau to allocate budgets as requested by state agencies, Mr Chalermphol said.
According to a government source, the cabinet's secretariat has told government agencies in writing about an instruction given by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin during a cabinet meeting on Oct 31.
The instruction concerned a daily minimum wage increase for workers as well as an increase in the salary of civil servants.
The source said Mr Srettha told the cabinet the daily minimum wage hike and the civil servant salary increase are part of the government's policy statement announced in parliament.
During the meeting, the PM instructed the Labour Ministry to study the possibility of the daily wage hike and report progress to the cabinet as soon as possible, the source said. It is still unclear when that will take effect, though the government has promised one.
The OCSC was also instructed to work with other agencies, such as the Finance Ministry, the Budget Bureau, and the National Economic and Social Development Council, to study the proposed increase in civil servants' salaries, a time frame and its possible impact before presenting the findings to the cabinet by this month, the source said.
Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke on Sunday downplayed speculation the salaries of civil servants would be increased sooner rather than later.
He said the PM had only ordered a study into whether it is possible to increase civil servants' salaries.
"Those agencies will have to present the study to the PM. No immediate increase in the salaries yet. When the study is presented, it is still not known when the salaries will be increased," he said.
"It is also not known whether the proposed increase will be financed by the budget for the 2025 fiscal year, pending the outcome of the study. The cabinet did not reach any resolution [on the source of funding]," he added.
Currently, there are about 1.68 million state officials.
Of them, some 427,000 serve as teachers and educational personnel while about 421,000 are civil servants and about 325,000 serve with the armed forces.
There are also another 1.24 million personnel in state enterprises, universities, state agencies and public organisations.
During an election campaign in Ubon Ratchathani on Feb 17, Paetontarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, also now the Pheu Thai Party leader, said civil servant pay would start at 25,000 baht if the party came to power.
Cholnan Srikaew, then the party's leader, said Pheu Thai has a policy to increase the monthly salary for graduates with bachelor's degrees to 25,000 baht within 2027 and that civil servants should also deserve the same increase.