The new support follows the award of more than HK$3.1bn (£315m) in subsidies that had been disbursed under the two earlier rounds of the Anti-epidemic Fund to about 310,000 construction workers and about 10,000 construction-related enterprises.
The Anti-epidemic Fund will now offer a one-off subsidy to employers in the construction sector who have employed casual employees on a long-term basis. The new subsidy aims to supplement the scope not covered by the Employment Support Scheme and strengthen support for the construction sector.
Currently, there are some 40,000 casual employees being employed on a long-term basis in the sector. The measure is expected to help about 3,500 employers and their workers.
Under the new measure, the employee will be regarded as a qualified employee if the company made contributions on his or her behalf under the Mandatory Provident Fund Industry Schemes for at least 15 days March. An employer may apply for a subsidy of HK$36,000 per qualified employee. Hong Kong’s Construction Industry Council will handle applications and disburse the subsidies. It will announce the details by late June.
Applicants must undertake not to make their employees redundant for a period of six months on receipt of the subsidy and to spend the full amount of the subsidy on paying wages to their workers.
The government said that latest figures show that the unemployment rate in the construction sector has escalated to 10%.