Key Things to Know about Macau Employment Law

Publication | 22 November 2023

1. What are the types of employment contracts in Macau?

In general, employment contracts in Macau follow the principle of freedom of contract. Employment contracts are not subject to any special legal form and can be established verbally or in writing. The parties can enter into open contracts and term contracts (fixed term and variable term). In the first category, the parties do not stipulate end date of employment, which shall only be terminated under the reasons specified in the law and/or contract. In the second category, the parties either agree on a fixed end date or refer to a foreseeable event as the end date (e.g. completion of a project).

In protection of employees, the provisions stipulated under Law no. 7/2008 (“Macau Labour Relations Law”) shall be considered as the minimum standard for employees’ entitlements. Hence, any terms set out in the employment contracts that are less favorable to the employees than those set out in the Macau Labour Relations Law, shall be deemed null and void, and shall be replaced with the statutory provisions.

2. Are there any limitation in the choise of labour contract type?

Yes, there are some limitations. For example, employment contract entered into with work permit holders must be a fixed term contract since their employment contracts are subject the same term of their work permit. In some cases, employment contracts must be in writing, such as term contract. Besides, the special law regulating the hiring of foreign employees (Law no. 21/2009) stipulates that employers must enter into written employment contracts with foreign employees, although submission of such contracts to the Macau Labour Department is not required for approval of labour quotas.

In general, use of employment term contracts is subject to the limitation that they can only be used to satisfy, particularly, seasonal, temporary needs, or special nature of the business (e.g. construction project), and for as long as strictly necessary for this purpose.

3. Why are the compositions of employees' remuneration?

Employees’ basic remuneration refers to all periodic payments, irrespective of name or form of calculation, payable to the employee for work performed in accordance with statutory or contractual provisions. Basic remuneration shall include basic salary, overnight payment, extra payment for performing night/shift work, food allowance, family allowance, subsidies and commissions involved in the exercise of functions, charges levied by the employer to the customer as extra-payment and subsequently paid to the employee, 13th month pay or other periodic benefits of similar nature.

4. How do foreigners work legally in Macau?

Generally, foreigners may work legally in Macau as:

  • • Work permit or “Blue Card” holders, under Law no. 21/2009 (“Law on Employment of Non-Resident Workers”); or
  • • Macau Resident Identification Card holders, who are management and technical personnel, under Administrative Regulation no. 3/2005 (“Managerial Personnel, Technical and Professional Qualification Holders Residency Scheme”, hereinafter the “Scheme”).

“Blue card” is the most typical way of foreigners working in Macau. Blue card is divided into two categories, skilled and non-skilled. “Blue card” refers to the non-resident worker’s identification Card, which is a work permit issued to foreign workers upon their employer having been granted the quota approval from the Macau Labour Affairs Bureau. Blue card holders are only permitted to perform work under authorized conditions: approved employer, workplace(s), job position and term.

“Management and Technical” personnel with technical and professional qualifications are those considered beneficial to Macau and therefore are granted Macau residency under the Scheme referred above. The main objective of this scheme is to retain highly qualified personnel in Macau by leveraging on residency grant. The candidates to the Scheme, once approved as management and technical personnel, may work legally in Macau without work permit. They shall be granted non-permanent residency at first, and shall only become permanent Macau residents upon satisfying other criteria.

Exceptionally, foreigners may work in Macau as “consultants/technicians”, who are deployed by their employers who are an overseas entity, to deliver specific and occasional work or services to a Macau entity. This exception is under Administrative Regulations no. 17/2004 (“Regulation on Prohibition of Illegal Work”).

Such “consultants/technicians” may provide services in Macau for no more than 45 days in a period of 6 months, and do not need any work permit. This exception is applicable only when there are genuine needs for a local Macau entity to outsource skills and techniques from overseas, such as guidance, technical, quality control and supervisory services. These personnel must be employees of a foreign entity, who has entered into a service provision agreement with the Macau entity who are in need of these skills. And such agreement must be registered with the Macau Financial Services Bureau (i.e. M/1 industrial tax registration), in compliance with Macau tax laws.

5. Are there mandatory minimum wages in Macau?

Law no. 5/2020 (“Minimum Wages Law”) provides for the following *minimum salary:

  • Monthly Salary: MOP6,656
  • Weekly Salary: MOP1,536
  • Daily Salary: MOP256
  • Hourly Salary: MOP32
  • Piece-Rated Salary: MOP32

The Minimum Wages Law is not applicable to domestic helpers and employees with disabilities.

*The Macau Government has recently proposed to revise the minimum wages stipulated in the Minimum Wages Law. The bill is now pending approval by the Macau Legislative Assembly. It proposes that, with effect on January 1, 2024, the mandatory minimum wages will be adjusted as follows:

  • Monthly Salary: From MOP6,656 to MOP7,072
  • Weekly Salary: From MOP1,536 to MOP1,632
  • Daily Salary: From MOP256 to MOP272
  • Hourly Salary: From MOP32 to MOP34
  • Piece-Rated Salary: From MOP32 to MOP34
Key Things to Know about Macau Employment Law

6. What kind of government filings employers are subject to in employees' onboarding?

Upon commencement of employment, employers must comply with the duty of employees registration in the Macau Tax Bureau through submission of “M2” form. This is for the purpose of withholding salary tax. Employers should also file de-registration of the employee upon termination of employment relationship through submission of “M/2A” form in the Macau Tax Bureau.

Besides, employers have the duty to enroll employees in the Social Security Fund and make contribution in the employee’s social security fund account. Currently, for full time workers, the employer’s monthly contribution is fixed at MOP60 and is payable quarterly. For part-time workers, it is fixed at MOP 60 if workdays are 15 days or more; and MOP 30 if workdays are less than 15 days. And it is payable monthly.

7. Is employees' work injury insurance mandatory in Macau?

Pursuant to Decree-law no. 40/95/M (“Legal Regime on Compensation for Damage Arising from Work Accidents and Occupational Diseases”), it is mandatory for employer to take out work injury insurance policy for all employees. When work accidents occur, employer has the obligation to report the accident to the Macau Labour Affairs Bureau within the statutory timeframe:

  • 24 hours, in case victims pass away or are admitted to hospital;
  • 5 working days, in other cases.

Victims are entitled to the following statutory compensation:

  • Compensation equivalent to two-thirds of the victim’s salary during the sick leave period;
  • Compensation for medical expenses;
  • Statutory compensation for disability and death caused by work injury.

8. How to terminate an amployment?

Employment contracts may be terminated by revocation (i.e. terminated by mutual agreement), rescission (i.e. terminated with/ without just cause, initiated by employer or employee), expiry (i.e. end of contract term) and denunciation (i.e. termination during probation period).

For termination without just cause initiated by the employer and termination with just cause initiated by the employee, the other party is entitled to compensation as per the employee’s seniority, and calculated in accordance with the statutory formula:

Service Year

No. of Days of Basic Remuneration Entitlement (per year)

Probation perior to 1 year 7 days
1 year above to 3 years 10 days
3 years above to 5 years 13 days
5 years above to 7 years 15 days
7 years above to 8 years 16 days
7 years above to 9 years 17 days
9 years above to 10 years 18 days
10 years above 20 days

*In any situation, the maximum daily and monthly salary is MOP 700 and MOP 21,000 respectively.

Non-resident Employee

  • 3 days of basic salary for each month or period of less than a month, of the remaining period between the termination date and the expiry date of the contract

9. Is Redundancy a just cause for termination of employment?

Under Macau laws, redundancy is not just cause for termination of employment nor is regulated separately. It is treated as termination without cause, which means the termination is regardless of any reason. If employees are dismissed due to redundancy, they are entitled to compensation calculated under the same way of termination without cause, that is, according to their seniority and the statutory calculation formula.

When employers also hire foreign employees who occupy the same job position as local employees, employers must first terminate employment of foreign employees before they can terminate employment of local employees. Failure to follow this is deemed as breach of Law no. 4/98/M (Framework Law on Employment Policy and Worker's Rights), leading to revocation of labour quotas previously granted by the Macau Labour Department.

10. Is there a mandatory ratio between foreign and local employees under the law?

No, currently there is no mandatory foreign and local employees’ ratio under Macau laws. Foreign labour policy in Macau is on “need” basis. As long as employers are able to prove that local labour market cannot offer sufficient and suitable workforce for specific job positions, Macau government shall grant labour quotas to ease the shortfall.

In assessing labour quotas application, Macau Labour Department also considers factors such as the employer’s financial condition, job offer and recruitment activities initiatives of the employer, job requirements and descriptions of the position, favorable and stable quantity of local workers, etc.