On 24 January 2017, the new amendments to the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541 (the Act) were published in the Royal Gazette and will take effect on 23 February 2017. The key changes concern increased penalties for employers who fail to comply with requirements regarding employment and treatment of minors set forth under the Act. The purpose of the amendments is to tackle the increasing problem of child trafficking in Thailand by stiffening penalties under the Act as summarized in the table below.
|Offence||Penalties Before the Amendment||Penalties After the Amendment|
|Hiring an employee under 15 years old or the age prescribed under the Ministerial Regulation.||A maximum 1-year imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of Baht 200,000.||A maximum 2-year imprisonment and/or fine between Baht 400,000 – 800,000 per employee.|
|Ordering an employee under 18 years old to work in prohibided jobs or prohibided locations prescribed under the Ministerial Regulation.
|A maximum 6-month imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of Bath 100,000.
If the offence causes the employees to suffer phsysical or mental harm or death, the maximum penalty is 1-year imprisonment and/or Baht 200,000 fine.
|A maximum 2-year imprisonment and/or fine between Baht 400,000 – 800,000 per employee.
If the offence causes the employees to suffer phsysical or mental harm or death, the maximum penalty is 4-year imprisonment and/or a fine between Baht 800,000 – 2,000,000 per employee.
It remains to be seen how effective the amendments would be in addressing the problem of child trafficking. While the amendments have been positively received in general, there are some doubts over their effectiveness as the main problem may lie less with the legislation and penalties themselves and more with the lack of supervision or enforcement by relevant authorities.