Covid-19 financial aid for businesses and workers short-term only – DSAL

The financial support measures unveiled by the government in the recent two years were designed to be a ‘temporary response’ to the Covid-19 pandemic with the aim of alleviating financial burdens on businesses, employees and residents, the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) has indicated in a written reply to legislator Ella Lei Cheng I.

In a written inquiry to the SAR Government, Lei noted that Macau had halted economic activity intermittently to prevent the risk of a wider spread of the Covid-19 outbreak domestically since 2020, with both enterprises and employees under heavy financial pressure and rendered unable to plan ahead for them.

Saying that the packages of financial aid introduced in the recent past were inconsistent and failed to address receivers’ dilemmas in a timely manner, she further asked the government to lay out details on under what specific circumstances would similar financial aid be rolled out, its scope of coverage, as well as eligibility requirements.

The lawmaker also urged authorities to turn the measures into a long-standing mechanism for employees and enterprises that are forced to halt their businesses in the event of a public health crisis.

However, the DSAL explained that such recent financial aid would only stay temporarily amid the Covid-19 pandemic, stressing that there is no need to ‘institutionalize’ the measures or keep them in place in the long run.

‘The SAR Government will continue to closely monitor the changes in Macau’s economy and its job market, review the effectiveness of the financial measures, and formulate appropriate response plans,’ said the DSAL statement.

The Bureau also stressed that both employers and employees are obliged to abide by pandemic preventive measures under existing laws and regulations, and called on both parties to communicate and negotiate work arrangements when such measures come into force in the future.