Doing Business

Public Holidays in ASEAN countries (Part 2 – Thailand)

Trường Lăng

January 1, 2023

Doing Business

Public Holidays in ASEAN countries (Part 2 – Thailand)

Trường Lăng

January 1, 2023

Thailand ranked in the Top 3 most developing economies in the ASEAN region, behind Singapore and Indonesia (World Bank 2022). Asides, this country was made of  an intriguing, diverse, and traditional culture with unique  Thai holidays. Therefore, bearing Thailand’s cultural and traditional holidays in mind will help investors familiarize themselves with the business and legal environment. In this article, Viettonkin will provide insights and tips  for investors about Thailand’s national holidays and labor compliance.

Thailand’s important holidays

Thai holidays include a wide variety of celebrations in which several holidays are to commemorate the country’s history, while the others are for religious observances. 

One of the most significant holidays is Chulalongkorn Day  on October 23rd each year, which honors the era of King Chulalongkorn. King Chulalongkorn is one of the most significant figures in Thai’s history, known for his achievements in Thailand’s modernization, religious freedom, and national independence. 

Similarly, Coronation Day is held on May 5 annually to remember the coronation of the reigning monarch – King Bhumibol. The holiday is referred to as “Wan Chattra Mongkhon” in Thai.

Coronation Day of His Majesty King Rama X, May 4 - Assumption University of  Thailand
Coronation Day in Thailand (Source: Internet)

The Visakha Puja Holiday is frequently referred to as “Buddha’s Birthday.” This holiday, which is celebrated in various Asian countries, is the major Buddhist festival, commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. 

In addition, Buddhists in Southeast Asia, including those in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, also observe Buddhist Lent. Buddhist Lent, known in Thailand as “Wan Khao Phansa” lasts for three months during the wet season. 

The Thai New Year’s National Holiday, also known as the Water Splashing Festival – Songkran Day occurs every April from the 13th to the 15th. Songkran is a Sanskrit word that means “passing” or “approaching.” Thais have a strong tradition surrounding the Songkran water festival, which symbolizes washing away all unfavorable omens and welcoming in a prosperous new year. These days, Thai people appreciate family reunions, with many of them traveling home to visit their elderly relatives.

Every April brings Songkran celebrations in Thailand | Britannica
Songkran Day in Thailand (Source: Britannica)

The Kingdom celebrates Maha Songkran, often known as “Great Songkran,” on April 13 to honor senior citizens. Families typically honor their older relatives by giving them presents and traditional foods. The Thai New Year’s Eve is observed in Wan Nao on April 14. A widespread custom is to gather sand and bring it to monasteries and temples to represent the filth people’s feet have accumulated over the previous year. The first day of the Thai New Year is called Wan Thaloeng Sok, which means “to start a new year or era,” and it occurs on April 15.

Thailand Public Holidays 2023
January 1, 2023SunNew Year’s Day
January 2, 2023MonNew Year Holiday
January 22, 2023SunChinese New Year *
March 6, 2023MonMakha Bucha Day
April 6, 2023ThuChakri Day
13 Apr to 16 Apr, 2023Thu to SunSongkran Festival
April 21, 2023FriEnd of Ramadan *
May 1, 2023MonLabour Day *
May 4, 2023ThuCoronation of King Vajiralongkorn
May 11, 2023ThuRoyal Ploughing Ceremony *
June 3, 2023SatVisakha Bucha Day
June 3, 2023SatQueen Suthida’s Birthday
June 5, 2023MonVisakha Bucha Holiday
June 5, 2023MonQueen Suthida’s Birthday Holiday
July 28, 2023FriKing Vajiralongkorn’s Birthday
August 1, 2023TueAsahna Bucha Day
August 2, 2023WedKhao Phansa Day *
August 12, 2023SatHer Majesty the Queen Mother’s Birthday
August 14, 2023MonHer Majesty the Queen Mother’s Birthday Holiday
October 13, 2023FriPassing of His Majesty the Late King
October 23, 2023MonChulalongkorn Memorial Day
December 5, 2023TueHis Majesty the Late King’s Birthday
December 10, 2023SunConstitution Day
December 11, 2023MonConstitution Day Holiday
December 25, 2023MonChristmas Day *
December 31, 2023SunNew Year’s Eve
Note:— Chinese New Year, Christmas Day and End of Ramadan are observed in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Satun provinces only.— Labour Day is observed by all sectors except the Government sector.— Royal Ploughing Ceremony and Khao Phansa Day are observed by the Government sector only.
Calendar of Thai Public Holidays (Source: Viettonkin Consulting)

Every year, the Thai government publishes a list of 16 holidays, thus, employees can select the other twelve holidays besides Labor Day (May 1st) at the beginning of the year. This means that employees are given a minimum of 13 paid traditional holidays (according to Section 29 of the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541). The following working day must be designated as a paid holiday if a traditional holiday falls on a weekend. 

Implications of public holidays for enterprises and companies in respect of the Calculation of Employee Salary and Holidays

In accordance with Section 62 of the Labour Protection Act B.E. 2541, if an Employer requires an Employee to work on a traditional Holiday, the Employer shall pay the Employee for the Holiday at the following rates:

  • For an Employee who is entitled to Wages on Holidays, the payment shall be made in addition to Wages at a rate at least equal to the hourly wage rate of a Working Day for the number of hours of work done, or, where an Employee receives Wages on a piece rate basis, of not less than one time of the piece rate of Wages of a Working Day for work done; or
  • For an Employee who is entitled to Wages on Holidays, the payment shall be made at not less than two times of the hourly wage rate of a Working Day for the number of hours of work done, or, where an Employee receives Wages on a piece rate basis, at not less than two times of the piece rate of Wages of a Working Day for work done.

There is no law requiring an employer to pay a bonus. Criteria and conditions of bonus payment or employee’s entitlement to bonus shall be in accordance with an agreement between an employer and an employee. Yet, when you want your company to be an attractive employer, you can pay an attractive salary plus a 13th-month bonus or normal salaries plus many months of bonus.

Investors should be aware of how wages are determined on public holidays in accordance with Thai law to reward workers for their efforts. They might be extended if the legal and compliance due dates coincide with public holidays. Thus, being mindful of public holidays may help investors schedule their tax compliance ahead of the due date, hence fulfilling tax obligations on time. Investors are advised to contact top industry professionals to avoid future legal non-compliances. Therefore, they can concentrate more on growing and expanding the business. With decades of experience in diverse global markets and a team of seasoned and professional experts insightful of the regional and domestic markets, Viettonkin is willing to walk you through your business journey. 

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