Thailand Legal News
Thailand’s new prime minister
On 22 August 2023, Mr. Srettha Thavisin, from the Pheu Thai Party, received over 482 votes out of 747 from the House of Representatives and the House of Senate, endorsing him to become the new prime minister of the country. On the following day, he received a royal endorsement from the King, a mandatory procedure under the Constitution, thus officially making him the 30th prime minister of Thailand. Prime Minister Settha is a former CEO and President of a major real estate company, Sansiri Pcl.
Additional safety and sanitary measures under the BCA
The Cabinet has given its approval for two ministerial regulations aimed at modifying the safety and sanitary requirements stipulated in the Building Control Act (BCA).
The first ministerial regulation primarily focuses on enhancing fire safety systems of high-rise* and extra-large buildings**, for example:
- Enhanced Public Road Access: Require wider public roads to facilitate passage for fire trucks to be able to pass through other vehicles.
- Visible Building Plans: Display building plans on every floor in a prominent spot, to be easily visible.
- Fire-Resistant Materials: Walls, doors, and other equipment constructed from fire-resistant materials must withstand fire for a minimum of 2 hours for high-rise buildings, and not less than 1 hour for extra-large buildings that are not classified as high-rise.
However, buildings falling under the category of high-rise or extra-large buildings that existed prior to the effective date of this ministerial regulation or had already obtained construction licenses or notifications of modifications or changes of use under the BCA but have not completed construction or modification are exempted from complying with these aforementioned measures.
The second ministerial regulation aims to improve building standards for new building/construction, with a specific emphasis on safety and the alignment of bathroom and toilet facilities with international standards. These requirements are, for example:
- Optimal Toilet Placement: Toilets should be conveniently located to minimize waiting times for users.
- Privacy in Multi-Toilet Bathrooms: Bathrooms housing multiple toilets must ensure each toilet’s privacy by providing walls, covers, panels, and doors.
- Ample Space: Toilets and showers must have a minimum width of 0.80 meters to enhance user comfort.
*High-rise building = a building that people may live in or use, and has a height above or equal to 23.00 meters, measured from the ground level of the building to the rooftop floor.
** Extra-large building = a building with a combined area on every floor above or equal to 10,000 square meters, which is constructed to be used, no matter some parts or as a whole, as a residence or place of business.
Electronic Investigation Regulations for Labor Inspectors under the LPA
The ministerial regulations will facilitate investigations conducted by labour inspectors* under the Labour Protection Act (LPA) through electronic means. These regulations introduce the following provisions:
- Request: Parties involved in a dispute have the right to request a labour inspector to conduct fact investigations using electronic methods.
- No Refusal: The labour inspector cannot reject such a request solely on the grounds that it involves electronic means.
* Under the LPA, labour inspectors have the authority to issue letters of inquiry or summon employers, employees, or relevant individuals to investigate, fact findings, or to collect pertinent materials and documents for assessment, to ensure compliance with labour laws within workplaces.
Extension to the extra tax deduction measures for the employment of highly-skilled workers (STEM)
The extension has been to the tax deduction measures designed to incentivize the employment of highly skilled workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Under these measures, businesses in the specified industries as defined by law are eligible to receive a tax deduction equal to 50% of the salary expenses paid to employees possessing high-level skills in STEM disciplines. This deduction is applicable for salaries paid between 1 January 2023, and 31 December 2025, and is capped at THB 100,000 (approx. USD 2,800) per person per month. However, to qualify for this tax deduction, employees must meet the following criteria:
- Certification of High Skills: Employees must be certified in their high-level skills in science, technology, or engineering, as stipulated by the Director-General.
- Employment Agreement Duration: Eligible employees must be actively employed under an employment agreement throughout the period from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2025.
- Prior Employment Restriction: An employee must not be employed by the same juristic person within the one-year period prior to the start date of the eligible employment as stipulated in (2).
Extension to the tax deduction measures for the investment in machinery and computer programs connected to machines in an automated system
The extension of tax deductions has been made for expenses paid in relation to investment in machines and/or computer programs that connect to machines in an automated system. The measures allow additional tax deductions for expenses incurred from machinery and computer program investments, provided that such expenditures do not aim at maintaining the original condition of the machine or computer program. The deduction is only applicable to expenses paid between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2025.