Above: Secretary of Economy and Finance Lionel Leong
The Chief Executive said in January 2017 that the universal minimum wage “will become a reality in 2019,” reiterating that the definition of a minimum wage for all sectors is “one of the priorities and objectives of this government,” in line with the Five-Year Development Plan of the MSAR (2016-2020), which states: “We aim to fulfil our promise to implement the minimum wage in 2019.”
The Macau SAR Government, in fact, decided to gradually implement the minimum wage system from 2015 onwards. On an experimental basis, the government has drawn up the Law on the Minimum Wage “for cleaning and security workers in the land administration.”
The objective, from the outset, was to extend the scope to all sectors in order to allow all workers a basic wage guarantee, especially for the lowly paid.
Chui Sai On’s statements, however, contrast with what Secretary of Economy and Finance Lionel Leong said, who conceded the possibility of delays because of the lack of interest shown by the employers’ representatives.
“It is not possible for the government to control the date of entry into force [of the proposed law]. What we intend to do is to make every effort to ensure that the outcome of the public consultation is released in the first quarter of 2018 and then to enter into a legislative process. As for the date of entry into force, we have to respect the opinion of the members,” said Mr Leong.
That is, it will not be at the beginning of 2019: but the year is 12 months long. Enough?