A scholar urged the Macau government to consider including foreign domestic workers in the proposed implementation of a minimum wage for all workers.
Cecilia Ho Wing-yin, a social work lecturer at Macao Polytechnic Institute, said the government should not distinguish between migrant workers and local workers as legislation on minimum wages aimed to protect workers from all walks of life, Macao Daily News reported.
The Macau government began public consultations in November about the proposed implementation of a minimum wage for all workers but domestic workers and disabled employees may be exempted from any statutory provisions.
There were 26,000 domestic workers in Macau as of the third quarter this year, half of them from the Philippines, figures from the statistics bureau showed.
However, their wages varied. Two thousand workers earn less than 3,500 Macau patacas (US$436) a month, while 7,000 workers earn between 3,500 to 4,000 patacas, and half (13,000) earn 4,000 to 5,000 patacas.
Only 1,000 employers were willing to pay 5,000 to 7,000 patacas to hire workers of better quality.
Ho said the government should also protect domestic workers’ rights or else the high-quality workers would leave Macau and work elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the Labour Affairs Bureau organized a third public meeting on minimum wages but only around 10 citizens attended, Jornal Va Kio reported.
One citizen worried that implementing minimum wages would add a burden on small companies. But another said domestic workers should be included as they help local families, so they should be better protected.
Ng Wai-lan, the acting labor chief, said the government was collecting opinions from citizens before the implementation of a minimum wage.