The DAB Legislative Councillors met with Chief Executive (CE) Carrie Lam to exchange views on further optimization of the latest anti-epidemic measures. Details of the DAB’s further proposals attached with the letter to the CE are as follows:
1) The $81 billion Employment Support Scheme (ESS) should cover employees aged 65 or over without MPF contributions.
The ESS states that all employers making MPF contributions to employees are eligible to apply funding. However, there are a considerable number of employees such as cleansing workers and security staff whom are 65 or above and do not contribute to the MPF. We propose the government to amend the ESS to accept other documents as proof of work as well, such as wage slips, employment contracts, working hours records, or statutory declarations signed by employers and employees.
2) Utilize the existing assistance payment mechanisms to speed up the disbursement of the $10,000
The government should utilize all possible assistance payment mechanisms, such as the Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance, Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, Disability Allowance, student subsidy and the Caring and Sharing Scheme to directly, quickly and simply hand out the $10,000 to eligible recipients in need.
3) Allow seniors aged 60-64 to enjoy the $2 transport fare concession via octopus cards
The government announced that the $2 concession will be extended to seniors aged 60-64 this January, but details have not been announced as of this writing. The DAB urges the government to facilitate seniors aged 60-64 to enjoy the concession via individual octopus cards.
4) Set up a fund for the unemployed during adversity
The government should set up a fund to assist the unemployed for at least 3 months and no less than $6000/month for any eligible applicant. Before the implementation of this fund, the government can temporarily relax the asset limits for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme from 100% to at least 200% for the unemployed to apply.
5) Improve the "Love Upgrading Special Scheme" and promote “first-hire-then-train”
The government should promote “first-hire-then-train” measures for full time students to apply for a cash subsidy according to course hours and recover parts of subsidy if students have not completed the training.