Macau Casinos Extend Furloughs to 2021 to Help Recovery

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Voluntary unpaid leave for staff extends in more than four Macau Casinos in 2021. At least four of Macau’s six casino operators approached by GGRAsia have already extended furlough for their staff to 2021.

Gaming Staff in Macau Takes Voluntary Unpaid Leave

Six gaming operators in Macau were approached by GGRAsia with questions about their furlough policies seeking more information of those policies and measures and their effectiveness to maintain some normality during these unprecedented times for the gaming industry worldwide. 

Stephen Lao Ka Weng, president of gaming labor group, Power of the Macao Gaming Association said that the gaming staff are taking their unpaid leave willingly and people have already become used to the new situation. However, during some busy days for the gaming industry in Macau throughout 2020, some employers have asked their staff to work overtime.

Labour groups assure that even though voluntary unpaid leave for casino staff will be extended in 2021, employees still feel more optimistic and consider their jobs secure, as opposed to the first quarter of 2020 when the pandemic crisis emerged.

Employees are relieved since the situation has already extended throughout the year and not many gaming staff members have lost their jobs. This has given them an optimistic outlook according to Cloee Chao, head of local gaming labor activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association.

She also stated that the policies offered by operators under “Care Leave” include the option to have one voluntary unpaid leave day and one additional day of paid leave.

Despite the Pandemic Macau Gaming Industry is Optimistic

Macau GGR posted MOP52.62 billion, 80.5% declinecompared to the previous year. The slow recovery of the industry could be one of the reasons why people are still being asked to take unpaid leave.

Although casino operators have a policy which allows them to not let staff go, the situation with the junket operators is far more worrisome. Many junket operators have been forced to ask their employees to take voluntary compensation and resign.

According to census data during September and November, there are 21,400 underemployed in Macau and the majority of them are from the junket and transport and storage sector.

However, even though the future looks uncertain in most parts of the world there is room for optimism in Macau for 2021. According to Choi Kam Fu, a vice director at the Macau Federation of Trade Union, the worst is over and the dynamic in the industry will gradually go back to normal.

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