As Macau casinos extend their temporary closure into next year, employees of these venues were offered voluntary unpaid leave.
Cloee Chao, head of New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association, said, “Basically all the unpaid leave policies that the casino operators offered so far are available as a voluntary basis [for staff].” She added the voluntary leave is not uncommon in the market, referring to Care Leave, a special option offered by Macau casino operators. It means an employee can voluntarily take one unpaid day off and then be entitled to one day of additional paid leave.
GGRAsia reported that despite the closures, workers are feeling more secure. And despite the ongoing pandemic, there hadn’t been many layoffs in the industry.
Stephen Lao Ka Weng, president of gaming labour group Power of the Macao Gaming Association, said, “Many of the gaming staff are actually willing to take those unpaid leave options, and everyone is a bit used to it already.” He added there were cases of employees being asked to work overtime. However, the situation with junket operators remains worrying. Junket operators, who are not employed directly by a casino, see dwindling employment due to declining business. “Some junket staff said they had been asked by their employers to just take compensation for voluntarily resigning from the company,” he added.
Choi Kam Fu, vice director at the Macau Federation of Trade Unions, stated, “I believe this year, which had been the toughest and the worst, is over. For the new year, hopefully the work volume will gradually normalise, then everyone can get to adapt back to that fast working pace.”