Ella Lei calls for stricter regulations over unpaid, delayed wages

Lawmaker Ella Lei has called on the Labour Affairs Bureau to increase punishments for employers who fail to pay salaries on time, following complaints from over 100 employees of Macau Asia Satellite Television Company Ltd. (MASTV).

The lawmaker also urged the bureau to deal with the employees’ complaints, as they claimed to have not received their monthly wages since April.

Late last week, Lei informed the press that its association, the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FOAM), had received several complaints since April. Thus, the federation met with DSAL, promising that it would meet with the MASTV employees to address their complaints.

“We know that over 100 of the MASTV staff have encountered wage issues, but we could not estimate how much of the wages have remained unpaid so far. This is because some front-line staff have been paid partially for a few months, but some workers have not been paid since February,” said Lei.

The lawmaker argued that while some employees had already been paid two months’ wages, a delay occurred again in May and in June.

“Some employees have not received their salaries for half of a year,” Lei added.

Lei considered this to be the most serious case of employers delaying salaries, based on the cases FOAM heard.

She added that similar cases had also occurred recently with a few companies that had filed for bankruptcy and were unable to pay the wages of some 10 employees.

The lawmaker lamented that the current law in the region does not implement a strict fine for companies that delay wages, noting that although some would face consequences, there are some companies that get away with it.

“Even though the DSAL has investigated such cases, the firm paid wages during the investigation period, [so] they would not have to face punishment,” said Lei.

She added that she was worried this kind of lenient regulation would become a loophole for employers thinking it’s okay to not pay wages on time. LV

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