Gaming workers agree to new round of unpaid leave to avoid redundancy as casinos hit by re-tightening of travel restrictions between Macau and mainland China

Some workers said although the unpaid leave arrangement was optional, they still felt pressured into taking one or two days’ unpaid leave per week.(Allin photo)

Macau’s steady economic recovery has been put on an abrupt halt after new Covid-19 cases were reported in the city last Tuesday, plunging the gaming industry into further disarray. According to informed sources, the six local gaming operators are once again asking their employees to take unpaid leave in a bid to cut manpower costs.

Many gaming workers interviewed by Allin Media said they understood that unpaid leave was inevitable as the new outbreak of Covid-19 severely affected visitor arrivals, and that they had no choice but to accept the arrangement if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Some workers said although the unpaid leave arrangement was optional, they still felt pressured into taking one or two days’ unpaid leave per week.

The unpaid leave arrangement in local casinos was put in place last year since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. But starting from the early months of this year, the arrangement has been suspended and gaming employees have gradually returned to the normal working schedule as epidemic restrictions eased in mainland China.

As Macau is in a state of semi-lockdown due to the re-emergence of the coronavirus in the city, it is feared that the unpaid leave policy is here to stay until the gaming industry once again picks up growth momentum after the new wave of Covid-19 infections in mainland China subsides.