Labor Law

Thailand’s minimum wage and average salaries

Are you earning too much or too little? Discover what you need to know about the minimum wage and average salaries in Thailand.

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By Naomi Nunn

Updated 26-3-2024

Expats who move to Thailand (ประเทศไทย) for work need to understand their labor rights, including the average salary in their sector. Similarly, if they start a business, they must comply with the national minimum wage regulations to pay their employees fairly.

Discover the complexities of Thai earnings and remuneration by exploring the following topics:

Overview of minimum wage in Thailand

Thailand introduced an official base pay in 1973 to ensure its citizens‘ decent standard of living. The minimum wage (ค่าแรงขั้นต่ำ, kaa reng kan dtam) varies by region as it the area’s average cost of living. However, unlike many other countries, Thai base pay is calculated daily rather than hourly.

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The Thailand Wage Committee (คณะกรรมการค่าจ้างแห่งประเทศไทย) sets the minimum wage and reviews it every few years. As such, it considers changes in economic conditions, the cost of living, production costs, and inflation rates when making these adjustments.

For example, when Thailand’s cost of living increased following the COVID-19 pandemic, various labor rights groups called to raise the minimum wage. So much so that in the 2023 elections, two major political parties – The Move Forward Party (พรรคก้าวไกล) and Pheu Thai Party (พรรคเพื่อไทย) – promised to raise it to ฿‎450 by 2027.

In 2023, the minimum wage ranges between ฿‎328 and ฿354 per day, which is higher than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors, such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and India. Additionally, labor laws also cover overtime pay and paid leave.

In reality, when working for a Thai employer, overtime is often unpaid and an expected part of the team culture. For example, when working as a teacher, there are weekends and holidays when teachers are expected to work extra without overtime or extra pay. Furthermore, requesting a raise is not generally done.

Exclusions and variations on the minimum wage in Thailand

The minimum wage across Thailand varies by province, and there are also some exceptions to the law. For example, government officers and state enterprise employees are exempt from the Labour Protection Act, which specifies the minimum wage and who it applies to.

Also, different rules apply to internationals and vary based on their nationality instead of the Thai province where they live and work.

Thailand’s minimum wage for skilled international workers

Internationals – especially in the corporate sector – must earn the monthly minimum wage or above to retain their Thai work permit.

These are as follows:

NationalityMinimum monthly wage
Canada, Japan, and the United States of America ฿‎60,000
Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom฿‎50,000
Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan฿‎45,000
China, India, Indonesia, the Middle East, and the Philippines฿‎35,000
Africa, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam฿‎25,000

However, there are some exceptions to the above minimum wages.

For example, employees working outside the corporate sector may still get a work permit with an official letter from the relevant government agency confirming the waiver of salary limits. This is most common for teaching jobs and those working in NGO organizations, where the salaries are often below the minimum pay for international employees.

Migrant workers

Although there is a minimum wage for skilled foreign employees, migrant workers often earn below this threshold. Typically, they are from Myanmar and Cambodia and are only entitled to the Thai base pay if they are employed for at least one year on a full-time basis.

Part-time workers

The Thai minimum wage applies to all working-age adults, regardless of the hours they work per day. Eight hours is considered full-time, or seven hours if the role requires more physically taxing or risky tasks.

Students and retirees are exempt from this law and can be paid hourly with no legal minimum wage; however, employers must consider their safety while performing their employment tasks.

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The law also states that students can only work in the service sector and no longer than four hours daily. On the other hand, pensioners can only be employed in age-appropriate roles, such as production workers, coaching staff, and drivers.

Skilled workers

In January 2023, the government implemented a new law specifying a higher minimum wage for certain skilled workers in Thailand. According to the legislation, the revised daily remuneration ranges between ฿465 and ฿700, depending on the job, for example:

ProfessionMinimum wage per day
Childcare nurse฿530
Excavator operator฿570
Industrial robot technician฿545–715
Pump valve technician฿515
Welding operator฿520

Thailand’s minimum overtime wage

There are also labor laws stipulating overtime rates, for example:

Type of overtime workedEarning rate
Hours over the standard 8-hour workday150% of the regular rate
Working for up to 8 hours on holidays or days off200% of the regular rate
Working over 8 hours on holidays or days off300% of the regular rate

What should you do if you’re not paid the minimum wage?

All employees, except those working for the government and state enterprises, are covered by the Labour Protection Act of 1998 (พระราชบัญญัติคุ้มครองแรงงาน). Being paid below the minimum wage in Thailand breaches your civil rights and could compromise the legality of your work visa.

Therefore, if you believe you are not receiving a fair wage, you should check your employment contract and then speak with the human resource (HR) department at your workplace.

If you are not satisfied with their response, you can also:

  • Seek advice from labor unions or legal consultants
  • Report the issue to the Ministry of Labor (MOL – กระทรวงแรงงาน) for further investigation

You can contact a Labor Inspection Officer (เจ้าหน้าที่ตรวจแรงงาน) if you still haven’t found a solution.

Additionally, if you don’t speak Thai, it is advisable to find a translator or a lawyer who will clarify the paperwork and bureaucracy.

How much is the average salary in Thailand?

The average monthly salary in Thailand is roughly ฿15,410 as of 2023. This includes at least 13 public holidays annually and up to 30 days of sick leave.

The Thai average salary is higher than that of many other Southeast Asian neighbors, like Vietnam and Cambodia, but much lower than that of Malaysia and Singapore.

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However, Thailand’s income inequality is one of the most significant in Southeast Asia. For example, around 11% of households primarily working in the agricultural sector earn less than ฿2,802 per month (below the official poverty line).

Average salary by sector

Salaries differ between sectors and levels of expertise in Thailand. Below is an outline of monthly wages for professionals with 3–7 years of experience, according to Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI – คณะกรรมการส่งเสริมการลงทุน).

PositionMonthly Salary
Business development manager฿45–150,000
Financial analyst฿40–140,000
Full stack developer฿70–140,000
Graphic designer฿25–80,000
HR specialist฿30–90,000
Mechanical engineer฿40–100,000
QA/QC engineer฿30–65,000
Sales and marketing manager฿40–150,000
Senior accountant฿30–80,000

Average salary by region

As with the Thai minimum wage, average salaries vary considerably by region and whether you work in an urban or rural area. Generally, Bangkok (กรุงเทพมหานคร, Krungtep Maha Nakorn) offers the highest monthly income in the country, around ฿19,000.

In the rest of the country, however, the average salary is considerably lower than the capital. For example, you can expect to earn around ฿15,000 in central Thailand, between ฿14,000 and ฿15,000 in the north, and about ฿13,000 in the south.

Recommended Thai salary checker

Salary checkers for Thailand can vary in accuracy – primarily due to the country’s income equality – but here are some you can try:

Is there a gender pay gap in Thailand?

A gender pay gap still exists in Thailand despite its labor laws. Nevertheless, it is much less pronounced than in other Southeast Asian countries.

Thai women earn almost 11% less than men. Yes, it is better than the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) average of 14.6%. However, females are still underrepresented (only 59%) in the workplace. Moreover, they spend 3.2 times more time on unpaid work (e.g., domestic or caregiver roles) than men.

Still, gender equality in the workplace is improving, with more women holding top managerial positions.

Salaries and wages for international workers in Thailand

Since internationals in Thailand work primarily in the professional sector, salaries are typically higher than the country’s average incomes and far above the minimum wage.

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Local expert

Jane Evans

Foreign workers’ earnings vary depending on their sector, experience, and location but generally range between ฿24,5000 and ฿433,000.

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According to the United Nation’s Thailand Migration Report, just over 112,000 migrant skilled workers live and work in the country. Additionally, over 2 million seasonal work permits were issued to migrant workers in 2019.

Most expats and skilled workers live in cities, including Bangkok, Pattaya (พัทยา), Chiang Mai (เชียงใหม่), and Phuket (ภูเก็ต), as well as islands like Koh Samui (เกาะสมุย). These employees hail primarily from neighboring countries, especially Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Myanmar.

What should you do if your salary is too low?

If you are not being paid a fair wage, your best action is to speak to your employer or HR department, as it is your legal right to earn a decent salary.

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Local expert

Jane Evans

Insider tip

If you are not fluent in Thai, consider using professional services to translate all the legal documentation to avoid making costly mistakes due to language barriers.

If your company doesn’t resolve your complaint, you can consult a lawyer and report the issue to the Ministry of Labor for further investigation.

Useful resources