Imported workers’ remunerations draw query

Friday, May 7, 2010
Issue 1006, Page 3
Word count: 682
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) reminded employers yesterday that remunerations for imported workers, including the minimum MOP500 housing allowance if any, must have to be paid in Macau Pataca (MOP) and transferred directly into the employees’ bank accounts in Macau.

The bureau held another public explanatory session on the Imported Labour Law at the World Trade Centre yesterday, in collaboration with the Human Resources Office and the Public Security Police Force.

A number of attendees, who are either employers themselves or representatives from enterprises, raised questions about the method of remuneration payment for non-local workers under the new law.

They said their imported workers preferred to be paid in other currencies such as Hong Kong dollars, or the companies have always been paying the salary through crossed cheques before the Imported Labour Law came into effect on April 26.

Yet, according to Article 27, nowadays imported workers’ remunerations can only be paid through bank transfers to Macau bank accounts opened under the workers’ names.

Remunerations include salary, all kinds of allowances as well as overtime compensation. Therefore, the minimum MOP500 monthly housing allowance, which employers are obliged to pay each imported worker if no accommodation is provided, also needs to be deposited directly into the employees’ bank accounts in Macau just like their wages .

DSAL director Shuen Ka Hung reiterated that there is no exception, adding even a written agreement between the employer and the imported worker to pay the remuneration in other ways other than the law will not change the situation.

Shuen Ka Hung explained that paying salaries through bank transfers is a means to protect the employers as this method can show reliable records of monetary payment to the workers, which is particularly useful when labour conflict occurs.

A DSAL representative also pointed out that it is necessary to provide each worker a pay slip, which has to state clearly the separate amounts of salary, allowances and compensation if any for that month.

In order to give both employers and employees the largest extend of security, the official urged that the amounts of all kinds of allowances or compensation should be written in the contracts.

Meanwhile, some attendees were concerned about the conditions of accommodation for imported workers.

The DSAL representative said the housing allowance is set at minimum MOP500, but if the contract states a better benefit for the employee, the employer is required to follow what has been agreed in the contract.

If an employer does not provide accommodation to the non-resident worker and gives him or her housing allowance, Shuen Ka Hung said the worker is free to choose where to rent a place to live, regardless it is inside or outside of Macau, “as the employer has already fulfilled his obligation”.

However, if an employer decides to provide the worker with accommodation instead of the housing allowance, the location must have to be inside Macau – the Macau Peninsula, Taipa or Coloane – where the DSAL is able to go for inspections.

On the other hand, since the MOP200 recruitment levy is already in place for new imported labour applications or work permit renewal applications after April 26, employers are reminded that they no longer need to contribute for the non-local workers to the Social Security Fund starting this month.

For example if an imported worker’s work permit expires on September 30 and he goes to renew it between September 16 and September 30, the Human Resources Office’s representative said the recruitment levy will be applied on October 1.

The Labour Affairs Bureau also told the attendees that the MOP100 blue card renewal fee should be covered by employers, “since only by having a valid blue card can a non-local resident works for them in Macau”.

The Imported Labour Law mentions about the body check requirement but not all imported labour will be subject to it, except life savers, dancers and masseurs.

A body check has to be done once between six months and a year depending on the job types, and the cost also goes to the employers, the Human Resources Office added.

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