Government Plan To Subsidize Hong Kong Employers

Subsidy Plan HK Employers

The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, mentioned that the new Coronavirus has been an unprecedented challenge, and the government will make an unprecedented response, including the introduction of an employment protection plan worth HK$80 billion. The plan is to provide wage subsidies to eligible employers, so that Hong Kong employers can keep all their employees at their current jobs. In return for accepting this plan, HK employers are not allowed to lay off their employees.

Carrie Lam said at a press conference today that all employers who are making MPF contributions for employees are eligible to this plan. But employees of the government, statutory agencies and government-funded organizations are not eligible as they are not affected by the recent epidemic.

The amount of subsidy provided by the government is 50% of the salary, and the salary is capped at the median wage of HK$18,000 (which is calculated from the second quarter of 2019 in HK). The length of the subsidy is for six months, and the subsidy money is paid to the employers in two installments. Carrie Lam expects the first phase to be issued no later than June. The plan is expected to benefit 1.5 million employees. About 215,000 self-employed MPF contributors will receive a one-off grant of HK$7,500.

About 800,000 HK citizens from industries such as catering, construction, taxis, red mini-buses who are not fully covered by the MPF scheme, can benefit from the plan.

In addition, the Hong Kong government has decided to relief the upper limit of assets for the unemployed under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme. This will allow more unemployed citizens to apply and be relieved for a six-month period.

In the next two years, the HK government will create 30,000 jobs in the public and private sectors. The new jobs are for 12 months, and will cost about HK$6 billion. Carrie Lam said that the government, the largest employer in Hong Kong, will still recruit despite the current economic difficulties. It is estimated that about 10,000 civil servant positions will be opened for new recruitment, and about 5,000 intern positions (for younger citizens) will be created in the tax year of 2020-2021.

The government will allocate another HK$800 million for work skill enhancement projects. This will allow employees to learn new skills or enterprises to upgrade their business operation technologies. So far, six projects have been selected.

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