The Cabinet recently approved the extension of employment contracts for over 200,000 migrant workers, allowing them to retain their jobs until the new government assumes office, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam announced. The decision extends the employment opportunities for workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia.
Initially, the Cabinet had denied the Labour Ministry’s request for an extension, as they believed it could impose an excessive burden of responsibility on the upcoming government, which should make its decision regarding the matter. However, the Cabinet changed its position and granted the extension due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the government’s formation, which could result in a significant labor shortage.
Wissanu explained that if the extension wasn’t granted, migrant workers would have had to return to their home countries and wait for the government to take power before resuming their jobs in their host nation. He emphasized that the contract extension would only last as long as the current government remains in its caretaker role, and it will be subject to review once a new government is sworn in.
“If the employment [of migrant workers] is not renewed, the police will have to conduct crackdowns, and business owners will hesitate to hire migrant workers,” the Deputy Prime Minister warned. He further clarified that the employment extension doesn’t require approval from the Election Commission (EC) since it doesn’t involve state funds expenditure.
Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri stated that the Cabinet’s approval aims to strengthen economic security. The extension relates to migrant workers covered under the labor-related Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the government has signed with the workers’ respective home countries. Employment duration varies among workers, lasting up to four years, and the newly approved extension will expire on July 31.
Wissanu added that if the current government continues to serve as a caretaker beyond October 1, the constitution allows it to utilize state funds allocated to various ministries until the new government takes over, and the new central budget is implemented. October 1 is the start of the new fiscal year. State funds expenditures of less than 100 million baht are possible without seeking prior approval from the EC. Any long-term financial commitments will be relegated to the next government.
Furthermore, a caretaker cabinet may approve the appointment of officials from the deputy-director general rank downwards, the Deputy Prime Minister explained.