As much as the coronavirus has severely – but only temporarily – crippled Macau, there have been some benefits introduced as a result. One of these is a new fund that has been created by Melco Resorts and Entertainment, designed to provide assistance to all employees in need – not just those working for the company. The project is being established by the gambling operator in conjunction with the Macao Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM, for its Portuguese acronym), and will see MOP$5 million ($624,000) be destined for employee aid.
This sizeable contribution to employees’ well-being comes on the heels of another project launched by Melco that designated $2.6 million to Macau’s rapid recover from the coronavirus. The Special Aid Fund, as it has been designated, will primarily offer support to those who now have unstable income or who have been impacted greatly by the outbreak.
The president of the FAOM, Lee Chong Cheng, says of the new agreement, “Currently, many workers are faced with reduced income as a result of the Coronavirus and are in dire need of assistance to combat increased pressures on their livelihood. In response, Melco and the Macao Federation of Trade Unions have set up the Special Aid Fund for Workers in Need with the objective to help affected families.”
The Special Aid Fund will be available to individuals such as tour guides, taxi drivers and others, and the company will work closely with the FAOM to ensure the money is properly used; however, the workers union will ultimately handle the payouts.
Melco Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho added when announcing the new financial contribution, “Melco stands hand in hand with the local community through these particularly difficult times. Our thoughts and concerns go to those families and persons affected by recent events, and we are grateful for the help of Macao Federation of Trade Unions for working with us and the community to fight against the virus. We will continue to work closely with the government to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our customers, colleagues, as well as their families and the community. We will do everything in our power to continue supporting those in need.”
The gaming industry has provided a lot of economic support to help Macau recover as quickly as possible. The government has stepped up, as well, announcing last week several new tax breaks and financial support measurements that are designed to soften the blow from any economic losses local business will incur. It is also giving each city resident an “electronic consumption voucher” worth MOP3,000 ($374) that can be exchanged in restaurants, retail stores and more. The vouchers have to be used within three months.