Macau’s six casino operators have pledged not to force employees into accepting a new, voluntary scheme regarding enjoyment of public mandatory holidays, being proposed by the government.
The news was featured in a government press release issued on Wednesday, following a meeting (pictured) between Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, and representatives from the city’s six gaming operators.
The release indirectly quoted Mr Leong as stating that the government proposal spelt no change to the existing compensation terms for employees working on a mandatory holiday as stipulated by the Labour Relations Law.
Several Macau gaming labour groups fear that, if the proposal is passed, workers could face pressures from their respective employers into agreeing to work on mandatory holidays.
One of Macau’s most outspoken gaming labour activist groups, the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, plans to host a march against the proposed scheme on Sunday.
The suggested amendment to the current Labour Relations Law would make it possible for the employee to choose – via a written agreement between the employer and the employee – to designate three mandatory holidays as normal work days. The employee would then be able to select three non-mandatory holidays as effectively “mandatory” leave.
For historical and administrative reasons, Macau has a public holiday calendar that includes “non-mandatory” days as well as mandatory ones. Mandatory holidays usually include festivals important in Chinese culture, and are times when friends and family are also likely to be on leave.
As stipulated by the current terms of the Labour Relations Law, those employees paid by the month and that are required to work on a mandatory holiday should be entitled to receive an additional day’s basic remuneration on top of their monthly pay, plus a compensatory rest day designated by the employer within 30 days following the performance of work. Such compensatory leave can be substituted – by agreement with the relevant employer – for a day’s basic pay.
Employees required to work on a non-mandatory holiday are not entitled to any additional remuneration or compensatory leave.
Currently Macau has 20 public holidays, 10 of which are mandatory holidays. The latter are: New Year’s Day; Lunar New Year’s Day; the second and third day of the Lunar New Year; Cheng Ming Festival; Labour Day; the day following Mid-Autumn Festival; China’s National Day; Chong Yeung Festival; and the Macau SAR Establishment Day.
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"The Macau recovery continues to be disrupted by false starts, while the lack of [Chinese] public holidays for rest of the year should cap the pace of the rebound”
Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC