Hong Kong supports more workers with new job-saving scheme
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, “Taking into account society’s views and the severity of the pandemic, and also some industries including small to medium enterprises and IT start-ups told us they don’t have many workers, but salary is relatively high… so we agreed. The 2022 ESS will not have a salary cap.”
This comes after the government’s announcement in March that the wages of workers who earn less than HK$30,000 (US$3,827) a month would be subsidised.
The monthly subsidy amount will remain at 50% of workers’ salaries, capped at HK$8,000 (US$1,020).
Supermarkets, pharmacies, and delivery companies with over 50 employees – which Lam said earlier would be excluded from the scheme – will also stand to benefit, although they will only receive the equivalent of a maximum of 100 employees’ subsidies.
The ESS will cover the period between May and July. Applications will open this month.
The ESS will also be eligible for gig workers and those working part-time, but their employers will only receive a maximum of HK$4,000 (US$510) per employee. It will also subsidise the wages of workers aged 65 and up with MPF accounts, the city’s compulsory pension fund.
With the changes, the cost of the ESS would increase from around HK$31 billion (US$4.0 billion) to around HK$39 billion (US$5 billion), Lam said. Including a 10% “emergency funding,” the scheme will cost HK$43 billion (US$5.5 billion), according to Hong Kong Free Press.