The COVID-19 pandemic has led to shutdowns, lockdowns, and quarantines around the world, forcing companies into drastic cost-cutting measures to offset severely diminished (or zero) revenue due to a lack or production or a lack of consumers. Notably, labor costs—the single biggest expense for many companies—are typically negotiated in advance, and are fixed to a high degree, leading to the unproductive situation where some workers at closed business are unable to work, but must still be paid. Even in companies that can effectively transition to a work-from-home model, roles requiring a physical presence, like drivers, cleaners, and security guards, are likely to be under-utilized. As a result, companies have been scrambling to find legal, effective, and humane options to reduce their labor-related expenses while minimizing the impact to their employees.
Our corporate member Tilleke & Gibbins has made an excellent tabulated overview of COVID-19 relevant labor laws of “what can do or cannot do” options in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.