Cabinet approves grants for struggling SMEs

A customer visits Chatuchak Market in Bangkok, but most stores are closed and staff are laid off. (File photo: Apichart Jinakul)

The cabinet approved in principle the payment of three-month grants to help about 480,000 struggling small businesses keep 5 million employees on their payroll.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting that the grant was offered by the Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA).

It aimed to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) retain staff that they might otherwise have to lay off.

The cabinet instructed the Ministry of Labor to work closely with the Ministry of Finance to view tax exemptions for businesses as a form of state subsidy, Mr Thanakorn said.

The Ministry of Labor had been tasked with preparing a report detailing the proposed grants and forwarding it to a loan selection committee before submitting it to cabinet for approval.

Details of the proposed scheme:

– Open to private companies operating in the social security system with up to 200 Thai employees. They must register to join the scheme in October this year and will benefit from three months of grants, from November to January;

– The subsidy will be at the rate of 3000 baht per month and per capita for three months;

– The subsidy will depend on the actual hiring of workers and the number of employees contributing monthly to the Social Security Fund;

– Employers must maintain staffing levels at 95% or higher. If less than 95%, no grant will be awarded that month. If they hire additional workers, they will receive additional subsidies based on the actual number of employees, up to a maximum of 5% more than at the start of the scheme.

“These measures should keep Thais employed in 480,122 SMEs each with up to 200 employees. A total of 5,040,176 workers are expected to be on these payrolls, ” said Thanakorn.

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