Extending Sustainable Social Protection for the Informal Sector in Thailand
The research on "Expanding Sustainable Social Protection for Informal Workers in Thailand" has four objectives: to study the current situation and the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on informal workers; to study the existing social welfare system and social protection for informal workers; to assess measures to provide immediate government assistance to informal workers and their barriers to access; and to propose policies and measures to expand sustainable social protection. The research employed a qualitative method to collect data by organizing a focus group discussion and in-depth interviews with informal sector workers.
The findings reveal the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand has affected informal workers, both Thais and foreigners, in terms of mental health and quality of life. The government assistance program is unsustainable, and the existing social welfare system cannot provide security for informal workers.
The researcher suggests the government improve the Social Security Act by: expanding the benefits of Section 40 insured informal workers to have benefits that are close to those insured under Section 39, issuing ministerial regulations or ministry announcements to enforce the law in detail, improving the management of the Informal Sector Occupation Promotion Fund by including representatives of the Informal Sector Federation to be part of the administrative committee, and clearly linking the network of government aid protection systems at both local and national levels.