Support for unemployed

The Government has provided a time-limited unemployment support scheme to provide timely and basic assistance to unemployed people, Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong said today.

Dr Law told lawmakers that having considered the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, the Chief Executive announced on April 8 the second round of anti-epidemic measures which were approved by the Legislative Council Finance Committee on April 18.

The measures include the provision of a time-limited unemployment support scheme through the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) system.

The Social Welfare Department will temporarily relax the CSSA asset limits for able-bodied people by 100% for six months, effective from June 1 to November 30.

Separately, under the existing CSSA arrangement, the value of an owner-occupied residential property of able-bodied households will be disregarded for a grace period of the first 12 months.

Such an arrangement will also apply to applicants under the six-month unemployment support scheme. 

Dr Law pointed out that there are currently no mechanisms or systems in place to disburse unemployment assistance funds promptly in Hong Kong.

He said it will take time to establish such a mechanism and imminent needs cannot be relieved expeditiously. As an expedient measure, the Government will launch the six-month unemployment support scheme.

Meanwhile, employees are qualified for a severance or long service payment if they satisfy the conditions stipulated in the Employment Ordinance. 

Dr Law added that under the Employees Retraining Board's Love Upgrading Special Scheme, the maximum monthly allowance amount per eligible trainee unemployed or underemployed during the training period has been increased to $5,800 with effect from May 25.

Updated on 27 May, 2020

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