By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The 11 years that Macau has been waiting for a minimum wage system since it ratified the International Labour Convention back in 1999 is “not that long” when compared to the situations in other major countries, the Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs pointed out yesterday.
The committee yesterday for the first time talked about the minimum wage in a meeting held at the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL).
Coordinator of the committee and also director of the DSAL Shuen Ka Hung told reporters no formal discussion on the topic was carried out in the meeting, where the officials had only introduced the history and background information of the minimum wage to the employer and employee representatives.
Shuen pointed out that some countries needed to wait more than 20 years or even 64 years until a minimum wage law was enforced after they have ratified the International Labour Convention.
“The convention was ratified in Macau on December 20, 1999, so it has just been almost 11 years and comparatively it [the waiting period] isn’t that long,” he said.
Mainland China, for example, has the convention in place in 1930 but it was only in 1994 that the minimum wage legislation was enacted.
In contrast, Japan and South Korea passed the law way before they ratified the convention.
Shuen Ka Hung said the meeting has raised the question of whether or not the minimum wage should be stipulated in the form of hourly or monthly wage, as well as what indicators are required to determine the minimum wage level.
It has been agreed that more data and information is required before the committee can formally move on to discussions, Shuen said.
The employer associations will implement a minimum wage survey shortly with employers being the target respondents. No timeframe of when it can be completed is estimated.
A concern group for the employment of imported workers that belongs to the standing committee was also formed, which is made up by six members from the Human Resources Office, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, FAOM as well as the Macau Gaming Enterprises Staff’s Association.
The concern group is responsible to find “loopholes” and inadequacies in the imported labour law and related regulations, and then suggest how the Government can further protect local people’s employment situations.
Moreover, Shuen disclosed that the DSAL is organising a large-scale professional driver training program and it is hoped that within the next six months 300 qualified drivers can join the force and ease the demand in Macau.