To face the challenges brought by Covid-19, the Hong Kong Government has issued a financial relief package. On Wed 8th April 2020, Carrie Lam has announced a financial relief package in order to help individuals and business highly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, including the introduction of HKD 80 Billion Employment Support Scheme (ESS).
- The relief package, worth around HKD 137.5 Billion (USD 18 Billion), represents 4.8% of HK’s GDP.
- The Government would pay 50% of salaries for half of a year. However, each worker’s monthly subsidy is capped at HKD 9,000. The plan is to spend HKD 80 Billion on a six-month wage scheme for entire private sector, as long as employers make contributions to Mandatory Provident Fund schemes for workers.
- Subsidies will be distributed directly to employers in two tranches, with the first payout no later than June. It is estimated to cover 1.5 Million employees.
- All the employers who have applied and are approved to enjoy the ESS will be made known, especially to the employees in order to operate in a very transparent way.
- The amount of HKD 21 Billion has been allocated to sectors and businesses hard hit. Notably, aviation sector, smaller ventures, educational centers, school bus operators as well as gyms. Businesses forced to close because of social-distancing measures are also set to benefit.
- For the general public, the government would also create 30,000 new jobs and there will be a reduction of 20% on train fares starting from July for the incoming two years.