Unionist legislator Ella Lei Cheng I submitted a bill to the Chief Executive on Wednesday, proposing the addition of paid paternity leave in the city’s Labour Law, as well as that of compensatory leave for employees when their weekly rest days overlap with mandatory holidays.
In a press briefing yesterday, the legislator expressed her hope that she can obtain approval from the CE to propose the amendment bill in the Legislative Assembly (AL).
In Macau, workers are eligible to enjoy a minimum of 52 days of weekly rest days, 10 days mandatory holiday and 6 days annual leave per year, while civil servants can also enjoy five days of paid paternity leave as well as compensatory leave for overlapping days off.
Ms. Lei claimed the two aforementioned systems are much demanded by society, citing a petition from the labour sector last year that gathered over 20,000 signatures for the initiatives.
“In many service industries including the gaming sector […] there are cases where workers’ weekly rest days are allocated on a mandatory holiday, even if the company can arrange to avoid the situation under a roster system,” said the legislator.
She added that the bill is fundamental, urging companies should not consider compensating leave to workers as additional cost.
Five-day paid paternity leave
On the other hand, the legislator is proposing a five-day paid paternity leave for employees in the bill.
“International associations relating to labour affairs do not have mandatory rules for the days of paid paternity leave,” said the legislator. “But compared to other Asian regions many companies set the period at around three days to one week.”
She pointed out that the proposal is based upon the current holiday system enjoyed by civil servants.
Questioned whether the proposal of the bills would be able to go through the Assembly’s discussion within the current tenure that ends in August, Ms. Lei believes the two proposals should not be too difficult to discuss.
“We know that this is a busy year but we need to progress the bill for [legislative] discussion this year,” she said, stressing the discussion should not be delayed again.
Asked whether the bill would upset employers, Ms. Lei said there is already a consensus among different sectors on the launch of paid paternity leave.
In the 2016 Policy Address, the government stated that it would ‘continue to review and improve the Labour Relations Law, including amending the law for paid paternity leave and compensatory leave.’
During a policy debate session in the AL last November the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) said it would consider implementing a three to seven day paid paternity leave in the territory. Nevertheless, the authorities have not yet announced any timetable regarding the proposal.