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Top tips for working in Thailand

Working in Thailand, is, in many ways, culturally very different from working in the UK or the U.S. as well as in many other countries across the globe.

Some elements will be familiar, whereas others may take some adjusting to.  There are strict regulations regarding working hours and entitlement, and companies may be fined if they do not adhere to them.

Make sure you have researched the regulations in your field before you travel — for example, you may find that the maximum daily hours of work change if your job is considered dangerous. When starting work with a Thai company, it is usual for an employee to undergo a probationary period. This is a maximum of 119 days, during which, if the work does not meet the requirements of the employer, they may terminate the agreement.  It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the local business customs.


English is used and mostly understood as the language of business, particularly in larger corporations. In some circumstances, interpreters may be necessary.

Working hours

Maximum working hours are eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. If your work is considered dangerous, this may be reduced to seven hours per day or 42 hours per week. If you work outside these hours, overtime is payable at between time and a half, or three times your standard hourly rate.

Leave entitlement and national holidays

In order to qualify for leave entitlement, you will need to have been in your job for at least one year, after which you are entitled to six days of holiday per year. All workers, regardless of sector, are entitled to the 13 days of national holidays. Employers will pay up to 30 days of sick leave per year. Anything over that and you may require a doctor’s note. Maternity leave is 90 days, 45 of which are fully paid. Retirement age in Thailand is 60.

Payment and minimum wage

After the introduction of a standard minimum wage in 2013, Thailand has now returned to its old system in which minimum wage varies from province to province. Comparatively, it is still very low. Skilled workers should expect to be earning above the minimum wage.

Employment law

Both Thai workers and foreign workers are covered under Thai employment law. Foreign workers may have a contract in English, but a Thai copy may be requested to satisfy the requirements of a work permit.  If a contract is terminated, you are entitled to varying levels of redundancy pay, depending on the length of time you have worked for the company. Not all contracts have to be in writing, but this practice is strongly advised.


It is important to dress smartly in formal suits, but make sure you avoid black suits as these are associated with funerals. Suit trousers and a shirt are the norm for men (with jacket, unless the weather is too hot, in which case it is acceptable to go without), and blouses and skirts for women. Women are advised to keep their shoulders covered and make sure skirts are below the knee.

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