Nearly 60% of casino workforce furloughed without pay

The majority of casino workers in Macau are wrestling with financial hardship, with 59.6% of them forced to take unpaid leave, according to a recent survey released by the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff Association yesterday.
Of those furloughed, 90.7% were asked to take unpaid leave in the form of compassionate leave, while another 6.6% were forced to be off on assigned days.
The survey also indicates that length of service is a key deciding factor – the longer the employee has spent at a job, the more likely it is that they will be placed on leave without pay.
In general, around 80% of respondents view their career prospects with trepidation, ranging from “worried” to “very worried.” Despite that, merely 8% said that they are planning to change jobs or industry this year.
The association proposed four suggestions to safeguard the entitlements of affected employees. It called on the Macau government to introduce legislation to regulate unpaid leave, implement measures for a rapid economic rebound, provide training incentives to upskill employees and adjust the foreign employment quota to protect job opportunities for locals.
The survey was conducted both online and on the streets in August, and polled a total of 611 staff from casinos.
Recently, one of the gaming associations has alleged that the underemployment rate among casino workers is “far more” serious than suggested by the statistics presented by the local government.
Previously, the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association pointed out that over 20,000 gaming industry employees are now underemployed, by which the association means the workers are subject to unpaid leave as well as other welfare cuts.
The group notes that gaming companies have estimated an increase in service demand following the resumption of travel permits by mainland China. However, despite the possibility of small-scale business recovery, casinos may continue implementing their unpaid leave policies.
With global tourism at a standstill, the gaming industry in particular has been reeling from the repercussions of Covid-19. The casino gross gaming revenue in Macau dropped sharply by 90% year-on-year in September to 2.21 billion patacas, according to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Although the figure rose 228.8% month-to-month in October to 7.27 billion patacas, the monthly tally was still down 72.5 percent from the 26.44 billion patacas achieved in October 2019.
The resumption of the Individual Visit Scheme for all Chinese visitors since September 23 has been a boon, slowly uplifting the sagging industry. The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) projects that Macau will see some 24,000 daily arrivals from mainland China as a best-case scenario until the year’s end.
Overall, the MGTO is expecting a plunge of over 90% in tourist arrivals for 2020, indicating that the casino industry may take some more time to return to pre-Covid-19 levels.
Meanwhile, Macau’s unemployment rate is on the rise amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with the latest figure – which covers the period from June to August – rising to 4% for the resident workforce and 2.8% overall.
The unemployment situation for the resident workforce is worsening, as a 0.2% increase from the previous May to July period was recorded. Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate increased 0.1% compared to the May-July period. Staff Reporter

Categories Macau