Lawmaker wants all non-local workers exempt from minimum wage

Lawmaker Song Pek Kei has stated that there will be “fairness” and “equity” only when Macau’s law excludes all non-local workers from minimum wage policies.
During yesterday’s Legislative Assembly (AL), Song said she was not satisfied with the employees’ minimum wage law, as presented by the government, because it included non-resident workers.
The bill proposes a minimum wage of 6,656 patacas per month for all workers, with the exception of domestic helpers and workers with a disability.
The exclusion of domestic helpers is related to the nature of this profession. According to government representatives, domestic service employment involves incalculable financial factors, for instance, an employer may provide accommodation as well as other benefits to workers. Such uncountable factors make this occupation unsuitable to be included in the minimum wage regime.
Lawmaker Song Pek Kei approved the domestic service minimum wage exclusion and further developed a theory, which she considers to be more “consistent and fair.”
“All non-local workers should be excluded,” Song declared. “Why exclude just the domestic helpers?”
Song said her concern for the city’s small and medium-sized enterprises, in particular the micro and smaller-sized companies, is behind this belief. She explicitly acknowledged that local SMEs have a shortage of non-local workers. According to Song, the greatest expenditure of local SMEs is that associated with human resources. For example, some SMEs are obliged to pay for the lodging of non-local workers.
“As SMEs depend significantly on non-local workers, all non-local workers should be excluded from the minimum wage,” said Song.
Besides worrying about local SMEs, Song is also deeply concerned about local families with domestic helpers. She believes that once non-local workers are guaranteed a minimum wage, domestic helpers, for example, will leave the domestic service industry to join other industries in order to receive the minimum wage.
“Nobody will be a domestic helper anymore. Employing families are more at risk because their helpers will think about jumping to other jobs. They would rather do cleaning or security work to get at least 6,656 patacas [per month]. They [domestic helpers] will have more leverage when bargaining,” said Song.
In response to Song, lawmaker Sulu Sou asserted the “unsuitability” of excluding all non-local workers because the exclusion would consequently put local workers’ jobs at stake if their work could be done cheaper.
The minimum wage law for all job types is expected to come into effect on November 1. The government expects that more than 24,000 workers will benefit from this law. JZ

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