Domestic workers can always choose to not work in Macau – Philippines Consul

Macau (MNA) – The Philippines Consul General to Macau, Lilybeth R. Deapera, said on Wednesday that domestic workers who consider their exclusion from a proposed minimum wage bill to be unfair always have the option to not work in Macau.

“[Filipino domestic workers] should consider all options and they should think how they can protect themselves and their rights,” Ms. Deapera said today on the sidelines of the 121st Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence.

Last week, the Macau SAR government Executive Council proposed to set a minimum wage for all types of workers in the city, except domestic and disabled workers.

At the time a DSAL representative stated that the exclusion of domestic workers from the bill was due to their employers not generating profit from their work.

As of the end of April of this year, about 29,430 foreign domestic helpers were working in Macau, of which 54.5 per cent were Filipinos.

Several local migrant workers groups have expressed so far that this exclusion was “discriminatory” and “unfair”.

“From what I understand there are groups who are studying this aspect and have made petitions to the government but we have been having discussions with authorities but were told by DSAL that this is something dictated by market forces,” Ms. Deapera said.

Local authorities have also advanced an amendment to the the Law for Hiring of Non-Resident Workers, demanding that people who intend to work in Macau as non-skilled workers or as domestic helpers will need to entry the city already with a valid work permit, barring them from coming to the city on tourist visas and then search for employment.

On this matter Ms. Deapera stated that the Consulate already discouraged Filipino workers from searching from employment in Macau through tourist visas, since this way they are not registered with the Consulate and are not able to receive its support and protection.

The Consul always stated that since one of the most common challenges for Filipino domestic workers was most of them not speaking Mandarin or Cantonese, the Consulate offered language courses in cooperation with Caritas.

“Although those who came through the Philippines government system are mandated to take language courses in Cantonese,” she added.

The Consul also added that the relations between the Philippines government and the Macau SAR are going “from strength to strength” with “on-going dialogue” and cooperation.

*With Wong Yi Wei