Minimum wage responsible for 20pct condominium fee increase

Leong Sun Iok (center)

The establishment of the minimum wage for cleaning and security staff working in residential buildings or hired by property management service suppliers, which came into force on January 2016, has caused an increase of about 20 percent (on average) of condominium fees paid by the property owners, the Secretary General of the Standing Committee for the Coordination of the Social Affairs (CPCS) and deputy-director of the Labor Affairs Bureau (DSAL), Ng Wai Han revealed.

On the sidelines of the plenary meeting of the committee, the representative of the workers and recently elected lawmaker Leong Sun Iok mentioned the minimum wage, saying that an update was proposed “in order to keep the quality of life of these workers.” Leong added that such a raise should be of about 5 percent, “taking into account factors such as inflation and living costs.”

The idea of bringing the current minimum wage of MOP30 per hour of work to the proposed MOP31.50 found neither a rejection nor an approval from side of the employers and the government; The DSAL director said: “We need to take into account both parties and moderate in order to achieve a solution that suits both.” Wong Chi Hong noted that to increase the salaries of condominium workers will necessarily cause financial consequences for residents. Ng was in agreement: “The salaries [of the staff] are the most important factor in the final expenses [calculation].”

Both workers and employers complained about the lack of information from the government, a situation that Wong said the government would solve within the agreed period of 10 days (to supplement to information pack that is expected today).

Wong did not want to reveal details about the meeting where the government presented a report on the implementation of the new minimum wage, saying he, “needed to respect both parties.” The meeting also served as an opportunity for the representative of the Social Security Fund (FSS), – its president, Iong Kong Io – to propose that the temporary subsidy for permanent disability should become a long-term program.

“We want to extend the scope of such a plan to become a permanent mechanism. In this sense we want to review the law and we have obtained the agreement of the CPCS members.”

The amount of this subsidy will be MOP3,450 per month. The subsidy will be available to permanent residents of Macau who have contributed to the FSS for at least a period of 36 months.

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