Part 2 – Key Aspects of Workmen’s Compensation Act
In this article, we shall continue our review of key aspects in the Workmen’s Compensation Act (the “Act”); we shall begin by examining key Supreme Court decisions on the application of this Act and we shall then cover some amendments to the regulations which have come into effect.
Application of the Act – Case Studies
Supreme Court Judgment 1683/2539
This case gives guidance on how the Supreme Court applies sections 16, 18(4), 20(2)(3), 70 of the Act.
A construction manager, while inspecting a construction site in the course of his employment, suffered a fatal cerebral aneurism due to high blood pressure. It was excessively hot on the day the manager visited the site, causing the manager to become stressed.
The deceased’s estate filed a claim against the employer for compensation pursuant to the Act which provides that where an employee suffers injuries or sickness causing death, the employer is liable to indemnify and compensate the employee (or his/her estate).
The defendant employer argued that the cause of death was not a result of the deceased’s employment; rather, the death was due to extenuating circumstances associated with the plaintiff’s health and the conditions on the day the plaintiff died.
The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the deceased’s cause of death was within the scope of his employment, and therefore compensable under the provisions of the Act.
The Supreme Court found against the employer, and decided that the work the deceased employee undertook was stressful in nature. The Court determined that it was therefore foreseeable that high blood pressure could result. Thus, regardless of the deceased’s health and the prevailing weather conditions, the injury was sufficiently connected to the scope of employment.
Supreme Court Judgment 1582/2545
This case gives guidance on how the Supreme Court applies sections 6, 18 of the Act.
The employee, a machinist, while in the course of her employment, suffered serious debilitating injuries to her hand.
The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the plaintiff employee could claim compensation under Ministerial Regulations (No.2) (‘the Regulations’), pursuant to the Act. Prior to the case being heard in the Supreme Court, the Workmen’s Compensation Committee found for the defendant employer, who successfully argued that under the Regulations, the injury was not a type of injury that was compensable under the Act.
The Supreme Court found for the plaintiff and held, that due to the seriousness of the injury the employee could claim compensation pursuant to the Act.
The matter which the Court settled was that where an employee suffers a serious debilitation injury while in the course of employment, the employee is entitled to be compensated.
Supreme Court Judgment 2379/2520; Supreme Court Judgment 2320/2527
This case gives guidance on how the Supreme Court applies Section 5 of the Act.
Where an employer can prove that an employee suffered an injury or sickness outside the scope of employment, the employee will not be able to claim compensation.
Section 5 of the Act defines the scope of employment.
In case number 2379/2520, an employee suffered a fatal car accident. The Court held that because the employee was driving for personal reasons, it did not fall within the scope of her employment.
In case number 2320/2527, an employee suffered a fatal gunshot wound. The Court held that the injury did not fall within the scope of employment because the employee was shot for personal reasons, not attributable to the employer. Therefore the injury was outside the scope of employment and not compensable.
Recent Changes in the Regulations of the Act.
Medical Treatment and Industrial Rehabilitation for Employees
According to recent amendments to the regulations, if an employee suffers from injuries or sickness when working or protecting the interests of their employer, then their employer is required to pay:
a. Industrial Rehabilitation Expenses – Expenses will depend on the type of employment prescribed in the Regulations, however, the expenses are capped at a maximum of 24,000 Baht.
b. Medical Rehabilitation Expenses – Expenses for physiotherapy are capped at a maximum of 24,000 Baht.
c. Surgery/Operations Expense – Expenses for surgery/operations are capped at a maximum of 40,000 Baht, however, in the event the expenses exceed 40,000 Baht, the Medical Committee has a discretion to increase the maximum amount, but any increase shall not exceed 110,000 Baht.
d. Rehabilitation Materials and Equipment - Expenses related to rehabilitation materials and equipment, such as artificial limbs, crutches and leg braces, are capped at a maximum of 160,000 Baht.
Should you require any legal support relating to Thai labour law or workers compensation claims then please contact us at Dharmniti Law Office Co., Ltd. 2/2 Bhakdi Building 2nd Floor, Witthayu Road, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Tel: (66) 2680 9777 Fax: (66) 2680 9711 Email: ryan [at] dlo.co.th or info [at] dlo.co.th
Writer: Ryan Crowley- Foreign Services Manager at Dharmniti Law Office