Employee benefits are receiving increasing attention from employers in Thailand, for two reasons: First is the global economic recovery, with the likely entry of new companies opening here. Second is the stated goal of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to form the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by the year 2015, and the real possibility of a breakdown of barriers to employees’ moving among companies in search of better benefits.
According to ASEAN, the AEC envisages the following key characteristics: (a) a single market and production base, (b) a highly competitive economic region, (c) a region of equitable economic development, and (d) a region fully integrated into the global economy.
Providing comprehensive benefit packages in order to attract and retain employees is key to implementing this strategy, but it is not a new concept for many Thai companies. In fact, a recent survey showed that almost 40 per cent of companies in Thailand spend 20 per cent or more of their total payroll on benefits. Moreover, it appears that all ten countries of ASEAN are moving to create tax policies that enable the relatively free flow of employees among companies in member states.
The concept is not unique — some European countries already allow foreign workers to transfer among member states without tax penalty – nor is it entirely altruistic. As more and more Thai companies invest elsewhere in the ASEAN region, it makes economic and operational sense to align their personnel policies as closely as possible from country to country.
CloudForce HR strongly encourages clients to formulate a benefits strategy that takes into account both the changing employment climate and the needs of a diversifying pool of potential and existing employees. In an environment of low unemployment and high employee churn, companies must ensure that job satisfaction levels are as high as possible. A conversation with one of our professional consultants regarding your benefits plans can return significant dividends to your workforce and your bottom line.