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Lawmaker calls for new regulations for domestic helpers

Ma Io Fong claims salaries have soared since the start of the pandemic, seeks to set up database of helpers and ‘protect rights of helpers and employers’.

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Ma Io Fong claims salaries have soared since the start of the pandemic, seeks to set up database of helpers and ‘protect rights of helpers and employers’.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

Domestic helpers may face a raft of new regulations if the government takes up suggestions by lawmaker Ma Io Fong.

Speaking at the Legislative Assembly, Ma called for a new regime to regulate domestic helpers separately from other non-resident workers (TNRs), citing recruitment problems which have emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ma accused domestic workers of threatening their employers and forcing them to raise their salaries, due to the difficulties created by the border restrictions and the new law for hiring TNRs.

“Domestic workers are the [people] who take responsibility for caring for the elderly and children. Therefore, residents expect that they can be regulated by strict and specific laws and regimes to ensure the safety of families and property. Chaotic situations and crimes involving non-resident domestic workers are frequent,” Ma said.

The lawmaker proposed amendments to the current regulations, including: improving policy on changing jobs to avoid dishonest resignation; increasing supply to prevent “chaotic situations”; establishing a specific “law on domestic workers” to protect the rights and interests of domestic workers and their employers; and regulating the conditions of entry for domestic workers and creating a database.

With these changes, the lawmaker said the government would have more information on domestic workers before they are hired by local families, along with a regime in which employers reestablish the “upper hand” that he claims has been lost in the last two years, Macau Daily Times reported.

During this pandemic, domestic helpers who lose their blue card status face going back to their home countries and as such, many have faced unfair treatments from their employers. 

Macao News has learned that some workers under the ‘blue-card system’ are currently receiving no salary, a reduced salary or working extremely long hours as a quid pro quo for being able to have a blue card and remain in Macao.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

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