Casual construction workers in Hong Kong to get $4,600 each in Covid relief

Hong Kong will give construction companies a one-off cash grant to pass on to their casual workers to help them survive the construction slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some 3,500 companies will get the money to give each casual worker some US$4,600 (HK$36,000).

The government believes there are 40,000 long-term casual employees in the sector, which would value the grant at US$184m.

More than 90% of projects were delayed in the city in February and March.

The latest unemployment rate has grown to 10%.

Hong Kong’s Development Bureau said the new subsidy would  fill gaps not covered by the Employment Support Scheme, and "strengthen support for the construction sector".

To qualify, employers must have made contributions for a casual employee under the Mandatory Provident Fund Industry Schemes for at least 15 days in the calendar month of March this year.

After getting the money, employers cannot make their employees redundant for a period of six months, and they must give the money to the workers.

The Construction Industry Council will handle applications and disburse the subsidies for the Government, and will announce the details by late June.

So far, Hong Kong has given some US$400m in subsidies under two rounds of the Anti-epidemic Fund to about 310,000 construction workers and about 10,000 construction-related enterprises.

Image: Construction in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong (Jordan Merrick/Unsplash)

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