Wynn Macau is getting its ducks in line — and toeing the line — in anticipation of the Chinese gaming enclave’s license renewal process and following in the wake of a scandal that shook the entire company to its core.
Wynn Macau Ltd. announced this week that beginning May 1, 2018, both female and male staffers who have worked continuously for at least one year with the company will be granted longer paid maternity and paternity leaves.
Wynn Resorts’ Chinese subsidiary, which oversees two integrated casino resorts in Macau, said paid maternity leave will increase from 56 days to 70 days. New dads won’t see quite the same benefits, but paid paternity leave is being extended from the current two days to five starting next month.
Macau labor laws require companies to give mothers a minimum 56 paid days of leave following birth. Fathers are entitled to two days, which can be taken anytime in the immediate month after birth.
The liberalized parental leave policies follow a trend in the enclave. In February, gaming operators Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment both extended paternity leaves for qualified workers to five days as well. Galaxy, which is one of six licensed casino operators in Macau, obtained a 4.9 percent stake in Wynn Resorts last month, valued at around $1 billion.
Ruling the Industry
All of Macau’s casino licensees are set to see those permits expire over the next four years. SJM Holdings and MGM China will go first in 2020, followed by Wynn, Galaxy, Sands, and Melco Resorts in 2022.
Last fall, Macau Chief Executive Chui Sai On said the enclave would be refining the laws overseeing the vast casino industry there, which is the richest in the world. The chief lawmaker provided few specifics on what that might entail, but did explain that the goal is to strengthen safeguards and assure the government that all licensees are playing by the rules.
Those laws will likely primarily deal with auditing junket companies and monitoring the movement of money in and out of the country. But in the aftermath of the global blow to its reputation spurred by sexual misconduct allegations against the company’s founder and ex-CEO Steve Wynn, the Macau casino may want to show itself to be a stalwartly good citizen to zealous Chinese gaming regulators. Extending parental leave could be a step in making that statement.
With Steve Wynn no longer even a shareholder, the company will be able to tell the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) that it’s committed to its workforce’s well-being, whatever that entails. Wynn was himself called out for alleged sexually inappropriate behavior over the course of decades with his own female employees, primarily spa workers and cocktail waitresses, a scandal that first broke in the Wall Street Journal in late January.
Wynn Resorts executives met with the DICJ in late January to do some damage control.
“The Macau government pays attention to the suitability of major shareholders, directors and key employees in high-level positions in the casino industry. DICJ is paying attention to the matter and met with the Wynn Macau management to better understand the situation,” a spokesman for the regulatory agency said at the time.
Under the People’s Republic Constitution, women and men are supposed to enjoy equal rights. Federal law also prohibits gender discrimination, but such laws are rarely enforced in China, according to Human Rights Watch, a non-profit worldwide research and advocacy group.