Insured employees left unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 situation can apply to receive unemployment benefits from the Social Security Office (SSO) from Monday 4th January 2021.
SSO secretary-general Tosapol Kritawongwiman said the office was ready to provide benefits for unemployed workers under a ministerial regulation on unemployment benefits in the event of force majeure arising from the outbreak of dangerous diseases under the Communicable Disease Act.
The regulation, proposed by the Labour Ministry, took effect on 19th December.
The new outbreak has prompted the government to order the closure of many service industry outlets.
Under the regulation, insured employees must have contributed to the Social Security Fund for at least six months before they became unemployed to qualify for compensation.
They are entitled to receive the benefit at a rate of 50% of their daily wage. The benefit will be payable during the whole period of quarantine, lockdown or closure, but no more than 90 days for each occurrence of force majeure, Mr Kritawongwiman said.
Budget Bureau director Dechapiwat Na Songkhla tried to allay public concern about spending government money to solve the COVID-19 situation.
He said the government has prepared a budget of 40 billion baht to deal with the new outbreak, and also has set aside an emergency fund of 99 billion baht reserved for natural disasters under the fiscal 2021 budget.
Under the 1-trillion-baht loan decree, 45 billion baht has also been earmarked to buy medical supplies and equipment for testing and treatment of COVID-19, he said. Another 555 billion baht has also been set aside for compensation while another 400 billion baht will go toward an economic recovery plan, Mr Na Songkhla said.
In Nakhon Ratchasima’s Muang district, Siwara Champathong, owner of a shop selling grilled chicken for more than 40 years, said he had lost about half of his customers since the new outbreak.
He said he was concerned when news emerged of the government coming up with restrictions including a ban on sit-in meals.
In measures announced yesterday by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, sit-in meals are still allowed, though customer numbers have to be limited.