The Macau government began public consultations on Monday about the proposed implementation of a minimum wage for all workers  – but domestic workers and disabled employees may be exempted from any statutory provisions.

The period of public consultation will end on December 27.

Wong Chi-hong, chief of the Labour Affairs Bureau, told a press conference on Sunday that the bureau would collect opinions from citizens before proposing a minimum wage. He said the focus would be on drawing up a statutory city-wide minimum wage system, Macau Daily News reported.

The current minimum wage for cleaners and doormen employed by the property management sector has been set at 30 Macau patacas (US$3.74) per hour since January 1, 2016.

The bureau proposed excluding domestic helpers and disabled workers from the implementation of a minimum wage, and drawing comparative steps taken in mainland China and Hong Kong.

In 2016, 44,200 workers employed in different sectors earned less than 30 Macau patacas per hour, a consultation paper showed. Some 23,600 of them were domestic workers employed under a local work-permit system known as ‘Blue Card’.

Wong said that as most domestic workers live with employers, it was difficult to set a minimum wage for them.

Meanwhile, lawmakers Wong Kit-cheng and Lei Chan U urged the government to exempt domestic workers from the consultation, saying the move would add to families’ financial burdens, Jornal Do Cidadao reported.