As a foreigner working in a Law Firm in Thailand, I have been receiving several questions regarding labor issues. However, today I will focus on sick leave, getting a free lawyer and what to do in case you want to file a case.
As a general rule, based on the Thai Labor Law, all (both expats and Thai nationals) are entitled to unlimited sick leave. However, only 30 days in a year can be considered as paid sick leave. The sick leave, unlike in the Philippines, does not need any medical certificate if you have 1 to 2 days sick leave in a row , however, when you have already taken the 3-day sick leave, a MEDICAL CERTIFICATE is a must, and the certificate must indicate that the doctor has advised you to take 3 or more days of leave.
Now, if the employer terminates you for not showing a sick leave medical certificate, even you have notified him and accumulated only for a 1-2 days sick leave, you have the right to severance pay. On the other hand, if you were not able to show medical certificate when you have accumulated a 3-day sick leave, the employer has an absolute right to terminate you.
So, I strongly advise that you must inform your employer through writing or electronic message that you will take sick leave. You must also secure a medical certificate from clinic or hospital if you have 3-consecutive days of absences and the certificate must clearly indicate that the doctor has advised you to rest for 3 or more days. And lastly, you must document all communication for evidence.
If you encounter any illegal dismissal based on sick leave, you may seek the legal assistance of Thai lawyers in Labor Department for free. There are pro-bono lawyers available (same as PAO in the Philippines). Also, you have to update our Philippine Embassy in Bangkok if you have filed a case against your employer.
You also do not need to worry about your stay in case, your employer must have canceled your work permit and visa after you filed legal action. By securing a sue form, and some legal documents proving that you have a pending case in Thailand, you can secure a Non-Immigrant O visa based on special purposes.
If you have basic legal questions, please send message at PinoyThaiyo and we will answer and publish your inquiry.