Employing Domestic Workers in Thailand

The paperwork and process involved in hiring domestic workers in Thailand - details of the legal requirements, application procedures and how to find domestic staff...

It is common to employ domestic staff in Thailand. Maids (Ma Baan), housekeepers, nannies and gardeners can all be found and employed without too much trouble either on a full or part time basis.

Domestic workers can be hired through an agency or can be found through referrals, advertisements in local papers and bulletin boards.

English-speaking domestic help is in great demand, not only does it make communication within the house easier, they can be indispensable in translating Thai to English in all sorts of situations. This type of domestic worker typically expects a wage between THB 7,000 and 10,000 per month. If domestic staff speak no English then writing down their duties in both English and Thai will assist both parties. Salaries may be lower for a non English-speaker.

It is possible to employ staff on a part-time basis and both hours worked and salary will be open to negotiation. The wage for this type of domestic worker is around THB 50 to 150 per hour worked.

The duties of the staff should be carefully specified beforehand. The duties of a maid may include:

  • Preparing Thai dishes (and some international cuisine)
  • Helping with childcare
  • Paying bills
  • Grocery shopping
  • Household duties
  • Laundry

To Employ Domestic Workers Through an Agency

The advantage of using an agency to find a domestic worker in Thailand is that the agency handles all of the necessary paperwork and formalities. An agency should ensure that the workers have Workers Compensation insurance and the necessary contributions are made into the Social Security Fund. They are also responsible for obtaining a visa (if applicable) for the worker.

The agency can also assist in training a domestic worker who may not understand the employer's language and can often act as a mediator if a problem arises. Agencies will also find a replacement if the domestic worker doesn't meet the employer's criteria.

Agency domestic workers' wages are typically higher than the wages of a non-agency domestic worker.

To Employ Domestic Workers Without Using an Agency

If the prospective employer is renting a house, condo or an apartment in Thailand the management or owners often provide a maid service. If not, they will typically be able to make a recommendation of a company or person that they have used in the past.

Potential workers can be found through advertisements in the local papers and on bulletin boards at local department stores or by referral.

When employing a domestic worker without an agency, it is important to do the following:

  • Make a copy of their Thai identification card and House Registration Document (Tabien Baan)
  • Have them provide a recent photograph
  • Check references

Benefits for Domestic Workers

Domestic staff are not included under the Labour Protection Act of 1998 and therefore it is not necessary for an employer to pay into their Social Security Fund, although it can be a significant perk to help find and retain good staff. Annual salaries under THB 150,000 are exempt from taxation. Above this, the tax rate is 10 percent up to an annual salary of THB 500,000.

Besides the agreed wages, domestic staff should receive benefits that include:

  • One day off per week
  • Traditional Thai holidays off
  • Adequate sleeping quarters (for those who live in)
  • Food to prepare their own personal meals (for those who live in)
  • Typically a bonus equal to one month's salary

It is sensible to fully understand Thai culture and customs in order to maintain good relationships with any domestic staff.

Thailand Labour Laws

The minimum employment age is 15 years old for both males and females. However, no children under the age of 18 may work without the permission of the Labour Inspector and there are restrictions on their hours of work.

There is a minimum wage in Thailand which is slightly higher in Bangkok than in the provinces. This is subject to change and should be checked.