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MINIMUM WAGE

Relief measures urged

The Joint Standing Com-mittee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) has proposed seven urgent measures to lessen impacts from an increase in the minimum daily wage while suggesting that the government set up a compensation fund for companies hit by the increase.

Some business lobbies expect some operators to take three years to adjust to the higher cost of labour.

The JSCCIB includes the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries and Thai Bankers' Association.

Pongsak Assakul, president at the TCC, said after the meeting that the joint committee discussed a package of relief measures to mitigate the impacts of the new minimum wage, which will be increased to Bt300 across the nation on January 1.

FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol said the committee proposed seven urgent relief measures that could lower operators' costs after the wage increase.

The first is to lower the contribution by employers and employees to the Social Security Fund from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent without any cut in employees' rights.

The second is a compensation fund to pay affected employers 75 per cent of higher costs due to the pay hike in 2013, 50 per cent in 2014 and 25 per cent in 2015.

The third measure is to reduce withholding tax for subcontracting from 3 per cent to 0.1 per cent.

The fourth measure is to cut utility costs by half for small and medium-sized enterprises for three years.

The fifth is to lower the room surcharge for small and medium-sized hotels by half for three years.

The sixth measure is to extend Bt20 billion in loans for productivity improvement for three more years from 2013.

The last measure is to rebate SMEs' value added tax for three years.

Payungsak said the joint |committee would discuss the details of these measures with the ministries of Finance and Labour.

Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, as the JSCCIB chairman, is expected to finalise relief measures this week.

FTI vice chairman Vallop Vitanakorn said the JSCCIB would today discuss with the Labour Ministry a possible relaxation of loan conditions for improving SMEs' productivity and the possibility of a cut in contributions to the Social Security Fund.


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