The pension pots
Macau, once the jewel in the crown of Asia’s gambling circuit, is going through a tumultuous time. While quick to add workers in good times, Macau has a problem shedding them when in a downturn – their pensions. Recently, the six casino operators voted unanimously to add a generous pension pot for their employees. Both parties, operator and employee, would put 5% into the Non-Mandatory Central Provident Fund System that was launched in 2018.
It was created to combat potential reductions in the government’s social security program and give employees better benefits in their old age. Although it is non-obligatory, all operators have signed up. But now that an anticipated drop-off has arrived, some of the big names, such as Melco Resorts and Entertainments Limited, have been mulling over ways to downsize.
According to local reports, Melco has begun to offer a voluntary job reduction scheme that promises up to $62,000 to walk away or a year’s unpaid leave for those thinking of pursuing other interests. This time can also be used to train towards a non-gaming position.
This current offer seems to be available at Studio City Macau, City of Dreams Macau, and Altira Macau and their integrated casino resorts. When asked for comment, Melco replied that it has been “designed according to findings via focus groups and other colleague-human resource [department] communication channels.”
What do we know?
It is not known how many employees are considering the new scheme, but the company did say that “numerous pit manager colleagues have expressed their excitement about the openings and possibilities on offer.”
So far, all that has been said is that it is 100% voluntary. A senior pit manager earns up to $59,000 a year, according to GGRAsia, and those without a university education can expect around $35,500. The operator is hoping that the cash will encourage more entrepreneurship within the region, with employees encouraged to bid on cash injections for goods and services.
This announcement continued the company’s focus on Macau employees. Melco joined the Non-mandatory Central Provident Fund System only recently, after Wynn Macau confirmed it was on board.
Will Wynn copy Melco? If the downturn is to be as big as predicted, the six remaining companies will all be looking for alternate ways to shed their staff without becoming caught in a pensions nightmare.