Government Guidelines for Closed Businesses Impacting Workers’ Rights – Gaming Labor Association

The government should not indicate that employees of closed industrial and commercial companies do not have the right to receive wages during the seven days, because this directive could “harm” the labor rights of workers, said the president of the Power of the Macau Gaming Association, Stephen Lao. Ka Weng, told the Macau News Agency today (Tuesday).

Economy and Finance Secretary Lei Wai Nong announced at a press conference last week that during the 7-day partial lockdown period from July 11-18 for all non-essential industrial and commercial activities , employers are not required to pay for the wages of employees, even if the workers are considered reasonably absent from work.

The Secretary stressed that businesses and employees have received an equal impact during this period, which is why the government is calling on businesses and workers to stick together in difficult times and support each other.

The president of the local casino workers’ association told MNA that the government should speak on behalf of the employees, not the other way around.

“The authorities should not say that it has nothing to do with the employers and that they can cancel the wages of the employees. There is nothing like it in the world! Lao pointed out, “If so, the Labor Affairs Bureau should be called the Employers’ Bureau!”

The union president also said he understood that the Labor Relations Act would not stipulate that employers must pay wages during the suspension of activities caused by the pandemic outbreak, but the government should not indicate that companies do not need to assume social responsibility.

“All workers in Macau are sad when they hear this!” he said, “it’s true that people should ‘pull themselves together in hard times,’ but authorities should do things to help employees through hardships, instead of announcing things like that.”

Meanwhile, the president of the casino workers’ association revealed that the six gaming concessionaires have launched two staff leave schemes, and employees can choose to take 7 days of paid vacation on their statutory annual leave and their compensatory leave, with an additional day of paid leave granted by the company in this situation, or choose to take half-paid leave during this period.

Employees who choose to continue working will be organized to perform certain essential work or to help maintain the operation of the nucleic acid sampling station, Lao noted.

However, the president of the association expressed his concerns that these plans could continue, as the government’s anti-pandemic measure of closing industrial and commercial enterprises could be extended.

“It’s good to schedule half-paid leave now, but what if the business is closed for another 7 days next week? Will gaming companies be able to continue to offer such a leave plan to their employees? ” he added.

In addition, the union representative pointed out that the MOP 10 billion ($1.2 billion) economic relief measures launched by the Macau government were unevenly distributed, with the implementation process taking too long. .

“The government has said that 80% of the population will benefit from this measure, but in fact children, the elderly and people with disabilities will not receive any help. A lot of seniors can’t benefit from this either, so how do you get people to pull themselves together in tough times? Also, this economic assistance measure should be put in place as soon as possible. Why is the government still delaying?

Andrew B. Reiter