Special working hours payments remain unsettled

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Issue 358, Page 1
Word count: 359
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The modified version of the Labour Law’s reform bill prepared jointly by the Legislative Assembly and the government is now ready after 40 closed meetings, although a consensus over the extra payment to overtime, midnight and shifts works has not yet been reached, president of the Third Standing Committee, Cheang Chi Keong said yesterday.

It is estimated that the new law will not be voted on at the Assembly until the end of July, Mr Cheang added, as the modified version of the proposal has to be reviewed by the Public Prosecutions Office and the Lawyers’ Associations.

And after that the standing committee will need to submit an opinion report and carry out final changes to the proposal which could take another month, he said.

The number of articles in the modified version has been increased to 97 from 86 in the original proposal submitted by the government to the Assembly for deliberation last year.

According to the modified proposal, employees should be paid an additional 50 percent of their over-time work payment if the longer working hours are mandatory.

As for employers’ unilateral requests for employees to work during midnight (12am to 6am) and in shifts, it is proposed that employees should receive respectively 20 percent and 10 percent extra of their ordinary payment.

By contrast, individual agreements could be made between employers and employees if the special working hours are agreed in advance or suggested by employees, Mr Cheang said.

However, director of the Labour Affairs Bureau, Shuen Ka Hung, who was the main official representing the government in the committee meeting, yesterday brought up the topic that extra payment for special working hours should also set a minimum percentage even for those employees voluntarily working overtime, during midnight or in shifts.

Mr Shuen suggested a minimum reward of 10 percent for over-time work, and five percent for midnight or shift work.

The suggestion subsequently aroused plenty of diversified opinions among the committee members who mainly argued that the percentages were either too high or too low, Mr Cheang said, adding that the issue will remain a focus in future internal meetings of the committee.

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