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Tuesday, Jan 19, 2021

HK Govt hands out HK$1.4 billion in wage subsidies

HK Govt hands out HK$1.4 billion in wage subsidies

The government has handed out another HK$1.4 billion in wage subsidies to local companies to help them retain the staff they otherwise may be forced to sack as the pandemic continues to batter the economy.
More than four thousand employees in a range of industries, from fashion chains to charities and media organisations, received handouts.

The government says the money is to be used to subsidise up to half the salaries of 62,000 workers between June and August of this year.

Some well-known firms got big payments, like health and beauty retailer Watsons, which received more than HK$71 million.

The Apple Daily newspaper got HK$20 million, while the Ta Kung Pao received HK$6 million.

Government data also showed that 367 companies that received payments reported that they had no staff members.

Some 35,000 other firms also received handouts of up to HK$1 million despite having only one member of staff.

This is possible because under the Employment Support Scheme (ESS), payouts are granted according to payroll information submitted by the firms for salary expenses for a month of their choosing between December and March.

That means they could have sacked all their staff afterwards, but still be eligible.

However, the government has previously said they would be inspecting such firms to make sure they use the disbursed money to hire, or rehire staff.

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