Macau junket firm Tak Chun Group said in a Monday announcement it had introduced a scheme to offer its staff what it termed “ex gratia payments” – i.e., payments made out of goodwill rather than because of legal requirement – if they “voluntarily resign” from the company.
After this story had been published, Tak Chun’s notice was updated to say: “The scheme has now ceased. As usual, Tak Chun Group fully supports the governing directives of the Macau Special Administrative Region in fulfilling its corporate social responsibility.”
GGRAsia had approached the junket firm about the reason for the policy and how it would work in practice, but had not received a reply by the time this story went online. In its initial Monday notice, Tak Chun Group said it believed the scheme would offer its staff “a viable option for planning ahead under the current market condition”.
“Except this ad hoc scheme, Tak Chun Group declares that, at present, there is no other extraordinary staff policy or measure,” the original Monday notice stated.
At the onset of the Covid-19 crisis at the start of this year, Macau’s Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, called for casino operators to avoid job lay-offs if possible, but did not specifically mention the junket sector.
Many local employees of casino-operating companies report being encouraged by their respective employers to take a mixture of paid and unpaid leave to assist with the gaming firm’s cost-saving efforts to counter the impact of Covid-19.
Macau’s general unemployment rate for the August to October period stood at 2.9 percent, according to the latest available data from Statistics and Census Service. During that period, the unemployment rate of local residents was at 4.1 percent, the census noted.
For the August to October period, among the unemployed population searching for a new job, most of them were previously working in “gaming and junket activities”, and “retail trade”, according to the census service.
The number of the underemployed during August to October amounted to 20,800, with the majority working in “gaming and junket activities” and hotels, according to the census data.
(Updated: Dec 2, 9am)