By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Employer and employee representatives have expressed ‘completely diverse opinions’ regarding the revision of the Labour Relations Law and each side has been given until mid-August to prepare their own set of arguments.
Coordinator of the Standing Committee for the Coordination of Social Affairs, Shuen Ka Hung, told reporters after a closed door meeting yesterday that after analysing the reports submitted by the two sides, they both held totally different points of view.
Shuen, who is also the director of the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL), said that employer representatives are mostly concerned with the current provision that allows those who work on a statutory holiday to receive triple pay, whilst employee representatives’ focus is on the arrangements for enhanced retirement protection.
It has been decided that the two sides will individually submit reports on August 19 and offer counterarguments on the Labour Relations Law review.
Yet, Shuen said, the representatives have agreed to discuss the law “as a whole” in order to balance the interests from the two sides, rather than “provision by provision” and insist on “which side can receive more benefits in each of the provisions”.
Meanwhile, the standing committee passed the draft of an administrative regulation to establish a Protection of Wages Fund, which is proposed in a separate draft law concerning claims that have arisen from labour relations.
Shuen said the fund’s money will come from the government and a committee will be set up so that employees who are owed wages can seek financial help if their employers are declared bankrupt or leave Macau.
The standing committee is also working on a draft law for a non full-time work system. Shuen said the legal advisors are carrying out an analysis on the proposal and after that specific provisions can be drafted.
However in May last year the employer and employee representatives expressed opposing views, with the former believing that non full-time workers had no right to enjoy basic labour rights such as statutory holidays, annual leave, maternity leave and dismissal compensation, and the latter arguing that these workers should be entitled to the same protection.
Furthermore, Shuen told reporters that the Monetary Authority will initiate negotiations with the insurance industry about expanding the scope of compensation for accidents that take place when employees are on their way to work during bad weather conditions.
He said the definition of “bad weather conditions” is not yet confirmed but the preliminary idea is to include typhoon signal No. 8 or above, storm surge and thunderstorm warnings issued by the weather bureau.
He added that both the employer and employee representatives agreed that accidents of this kind should be considered work-related.
The standing committee yesterday also analysed the reports submitted by the representatives which propose how the research study on the minimum wage system should be implemented.
Shuen said a public tender will be staged to choose which academic institute will be responsible to conduct the research.
Regarding the more than 1,000 complaints the DSAL received from Venetian employees about unpaid meal breaks, Shuen said two teams of staff are handling the matter and it will take some time until the dispute can be resolved.