Labour pains, continued

The government has launched a consultation process concerning the revision of some points of the labour law. The document will be open for comment for about two months. The drafters of the document did as best as possible to make the changes appear important. They refer to them as ‘priorities,’ suggesting their selection is the outcome of some methodical process albeit it is hard to infer the approach or criteria used.
The outcome is a list of seven changes, and they are not overwhelming. We rest assured, however, that the first three of them are those that elicit “bigger concerns in society,” and that the other “may increase flexibility.” What kind of meaningful input is expected from the public is not easy to fathom.
They touch mainly on minor changes to maternity and paternity leave, and the compensation and arrangements concerning working on public holidays. None of the existing regulations on these topics is especially generous; the changes will not represent a major departure from that tenor. So, assuming the changes are introduced in the future law proposal, what may change?
Fathers may be entitled to three to five days of additional paternity leave and mothers may have an additional 14 days of unpaid leave. It is an improvement that will get the region’s regulations closer to international practice, but they are hardly striking.
The other five issues relate to work undertaken on public holidays, and the ways to compensate for them, either by rest days or monetary outlay. The rationale for them is ‘to reflect the fairness and reasonability of the compensation,’ and ‘to reinforce the ‘operational-ity’ (sorry) of the law.’ It is not too clear what that means, but it is conceivably a suitable intention.
These are minor changes that will steer the discussion away from other more significant and contentious labour regulation topics. The hot topics are adjourned. The provisions of the Basic Law, nonetheless - the laws touching on trade unions, workers’ rights, and collective bargaining - are unlikely to enter the agenda for the foreseeable future.
The status of the ILO (International Labour Organization) conventions, supposedly valid in Macau, is a non-existent issue. Even the promised discussion about a minimum wage is only vaguely scheduled for the first half of 2019. With the selection of the new Chief Executive looming then, it is a subject that will probably have to wait for the new Administration.