Domestic Employment Agencies & the Employment & Job Seeker Protection Act

Domestic Employment Agencies & the Employment & Job Seeker Protection Act

In this month’s article, we shall continue examining the Employment & Job Seeker Protection Act (1985) (The ‘Act’) but we shall focus on domestic employment agencies and the law relating to them. We shall begin by explaining the main legal requirements which must be met before a license can be granted to run a local employment agency, thereafter we shall examine various other topics including ongoing compliance requirements as well as rules relating to staffing of an agency and changing license details.

Legal Requirements for Granting of a Domestic Employment Service License:

According to the Act, an applicant for a domestic employment license must be a Thai National who is at least 20 years of age who isn’t or previously was a person involved in disgraceful conduct or having poor morals. The requirements imposed on applicants for a domestic employment agency license are very similar to those applicable for overseas employment agencies as the applicant must not be incompetent or quasi-incompetent and not have been sentenced by a final judgment of the Court to a term of imprisonment for any offense. In addition to the above stipulations, the applicant must also submit a security deposit of at least 100,000 Baht with the registrar as a security to ensure their compliance with the Act. If an applicant is a juristic person such as a private company, the entity must be registered in Thailand and be majority Thai owned.

Conditions Imposed on Domestic Licensees of Employment Agencies:

If an applicant is successful and a domestic employment agency license is granted then the license shall only be valid for a period of two years and shall be limited to the province(s) specified under it. Once granted, the license must be prominently displayed at the office of the employment agency and the office itself cannot be located at place of entertainment such as a bar, as well as at a hotel, pawnshop or dormitory.

If the application proves successful and a domestic employment agency license is granted then there are several ongoing compliance requirements that owners of this type of business should be aware of, these include preparing a registration book, accounts and other documents related to their business; moreover the licensee must prepare and submit a monthly employment report to the registrar within the 10th day of the following month. In terms of charging job-seekers for its services, the law provides clear guidance on this matter by stipulating that no licensee of a domestic employment agency is permitted to charge or receive any money or property from a job seeker other than expenses and the service charge, however it cannot charge or receive such monies from a job seeker before an employer accepts the job-seeker to work for them and makes the first payment of wages to the employee (job-seeker).

If a job seeker earns a wage which is less that the amount specified in the employment contract or the nature of the job responsibilities are different from those as specified in the job-seeker’s employment contract then the licensee of the domestic employment agency needs to arrange for the job-seeker to return to the office where they signed the employment contract. In doing so the licensee must be responsible for the job-seeker’s travel, accommodation and meal expenses and they must also return the service charge and expenses already paid to them. If the job-seeker refuses to return to the office then the licensee is not required to arrange their return and expenses but they must notify the registrar in writing of this matter.

Changing License Details and Renewal

If at the end of the initial two year period the licensee wishes to renew their license they must submit a renewal application to the Central Employment Registrar or the Provincial Employment Registrar. Similarly, if the licensee wishes to change their office location or their manager they must lodge a request with the relevant registrar. The decisions on the above changes shall be made by the registrar within 30 days of when a correct and complete application is officially submitted. If an application is rejected by the registrar, then the licensee has the right to appeal the decision to Minister of Labour provided they submit their appeal within 30 days from receiving the notification of the registrar rejecting their application.

Staff & Agents of a Licensee:

Domestic employment agencies should be aware that their registered staff and agents are subject to strict compliance requirements as they are also required to comply with the licensee applicant requirements under the Act such as the stipulation that they not be a director, partner or manager of a juristic person that is subject to having its Employment License revoked or under appeal. Furthermore, the manager, staff, agents and the licensee themselves are required to present an official ID card to relevant officials such as Labour Ministry officials if they carrying out their duties outside of their registered office, these ID cards are only valid for a maximum period of one year from when they are issued. If the staff or management leave the employment of their agency then their ID cards must either be returned to the registrar or the licensee of the agency within 7 days from when their employment ceases. If the ID is handed over the licensee then they in turn must send it back to the registrar within 7 days of when the staff member returns it to them.

A license that is issued to a domestic employment agency covers the registered employees and agents of that agency, hence in the writers opinion, managers of agencies should be careful to monitor the conduct of their staff and agents in carrying out their work as the Act provides that any actions of registered staff shall be deemed as being the act of the licensee, hence the licensee shall be held responsible for them.

If a domestic employment agency wishes to register an agent, the law requires that a security deposit of at least 50,000 Baht must be lodged with the registrar. This security can be in the form of cash, Thai Government bond or otherwise a letter of guarantee from a Thai bank. This deposit is used to ensure compliance with the Act because if the registrar becomes aware of any violations of the Act by the said agent they shall notify the domestic employment agency in writing of such violation and if it fails to disprove the allegations within 30 days of receiving such notice then the registrar can pay compensation from the security deposit to an affected job-seeker who has suffered actual damage arising from the conduct of the agent.

Should you require any legal advice on the Employment & Job Seeker Protection Act then please contact us at Dharmniti Law Office Co., Ltd. 2/2 Bhakdi Building 2nd Floor, Witthayu Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok, Tel : (66) 2680 9710, Email: ryan@dlo.co.th or info@dlo.co.th