Macau has a lower statutory minimum wage for its maids than Hong Kong and Taiwan. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A local group has called on the Macau government to review the statutory minimum wages for foreign domestic workers to protect their rights better.

The Macau government is proposing revisions to the universal minimum-wage law. Ron Lam U Tou, director of Synergy Macao, said maids should be treated separately from its provisions, Hou Kong Daily reported.

The group urged the government to review at once the existing statutory minimum wage for foreign domestic workers – 2,500 patacas (US$310) per month. That minimum was set before the handover from Portuguese to Chinese rule in 1999, and is the lowest among neighboring markets. In Hong Kong, the minimum is HK$4,410 (US$564) a month and in Taiwan, NT$17,000 (US$573).

Lam said given the uniqueness of the job and the fact that most domestic workers live with their employers, it was difficult to cost their benefits accurately.

He added that mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan had also excluded domestic workers from their general minimum-wage laws, and had separate guidelines for maids.

Lam emphasized that the government should review the minimum wages for domestic workers immediately and establish a regular evaluation mechanism. It should also strictly regulate local employment agencies’ practices and impose heavy penalties on those that overcharge maids for their intermediary services.

Lam said the group wanted to ensure that all domestic workers get decent wages and reasonable living standards.

Read: Macau should include maids in minimum wage plan: Scholar