Members of a Macau gaming labour activist group delivered on Monday copies of petitions to venues respectively operated by the city’s six casino operators, requesting longer paid leave for eligible employees who are either new mothers or new fathers. The activists also want upped bonus payments for all eligible staff in the form of a so-called “14th month” of salary. Casino workers in Macau already get a so-called “13th month” payment to top up their annual income, which is described by the companies as a discretionary award.
The activist group – Professional for Gaming of New Macau – wants the casino operators to match or improve a paid maternity and paternity leave deal announced by Wynn Macau Ltd last week.
On April 3, Wynn Macau announced that the length of paid maternity leave for its eligible female employees was being increased from 56 days to 70 days. For male employees, the length of paid paternity leave was extended from two days to seven days.
“The [casino] workers are calling for better benefits, including maternity and paternity leave. They would like it to be at the level being enjoyed by the civil servants here,” explained deputy director of Professional for Gaming of New Macau, Lei Man Chao, in comments to GGRAsia. Mr Lei’s group currently claims approximately 300 gaming workers as members, with a majority said to be working as casino dealers.
The length of paid maternity leave for female civil servants in Macau is 90 days, while their male counterparts are entitled to five working days of paid leave, according to local regulations applicable to civil servants.
Choi Kam Fu, director general of Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association, told GGRAsia his group was still assessing how the city’s casino operators are adjusting their policies on maternity and paternity leave. Mr Choi’s association is an affiliate of Macau’s traditionalist labour group, Macau Federation of Trade Unions.
“Actually, during the end of 2017, we wrote to the six casino operators urging for better policies on maternity and paternity leave, and for that we got positive response,” Mr Choi told us. At the time the federation demanded paid seven-day paternity leave for male employees of casinos, and 90 days of paid leave for new mothers working in the sector.
“The resulting adjustments [in this area] made by the casino operators so far this year vary, and are not necessarily as much as we’ve been striving for. But we do hope that it [maternity and paternity leave] can gradually improve,” Mr Choi added.
The group Professional for Gaming of New Macau, led by its director Cloee Chao, also delivered petitions on Monday to the six gaming operators demanding that any bonus casino non-management employees receive annually should be equal to two months of salary. Such workers typically get one month; known locally as the “13th month”. The suggested upping of payment is referred to by some workers as a “14th month” of salary.
“MGM [China] has done that already. And we hope that it will be a practice that the other casino operators would follow,” Mr Lei noted to GGRAsia, referring to an announcement MGM China Ltd made in February regarding the award of two bonuses; each one equivalent to a month’s salary, to its eligible non-management employees.
This announcement made by MGM China came in the same week as a gaming labour protest - organised by Professional for Gaming of New Macau – that demanded such a system.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau