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The Philippine consul general calls for helpers to be covered by minimum wage laws

Domestic workers are excluded from the minimum wage legislation that came into effect at the start of the year.

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Less than 1 minute Minutes

The SAR’s sizable population of domestic workers should be covered by local minimum wage laws, as they are in neighbouring Hong Kong, says the Philippine consul general in Macao.

Porfirio Mayo Jr., told Hoje Macau that his office was pushing the government to include the group in its earnings legislation. More than half the city’s domestic workers are Philippine nationals who earn significantly less than minimum wage.

Macao’s current minimum wage is set at 7,072 patacas per month, or 1,536 patacas a week, after an increase came into effect at the start of this year. While it applies to both local and foreign employees, domestic and disabled workers are not covered.

In practice, Mayo said that many domestic workers earned around 4,770 patacas per month when their salary and accommodation allowance was combined – though they could earn even less.

[See more: ‘I want my life to have a purpose.’ Meet the women fighting for a better deal for their fellow domestic helpers]

Employers are legally obliged to provide lodgings for domestic workers in Macao, either in their own homes or through a rental allowance. However, Mayo pointed out that the minimum allowance – set at just 500 patacas per month – is far below the market rate. “It hasn’t undergone any change in over two decades, so we’re [also] working on [increasing] that,” he said.

Macao’s failure to extend minimum wage protections to domestic workers has been the subject of international condemnation, which the government has recently refuted.

Hong Kong recently upped the minimum wage for domestic workers signing onto new contracts by three percent, meaning they’ll earn at least HK$4,870 per month – or just over 5,000 patacas as a base salary. Many claimed this was still too low, according to the South China Morning Post.

There were almost 26,000 non-resident domestic workers in Macao as of November last year, according to official data.

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