On 8 April 2020, the Chief Executive held a press conference announcing that the Hong Kong government is to roll out a HKD 137 billion (approximately USD 80 billion) relief package by implementing the Employment Protection Scheme to assist individuals and businesses to ease the financial difficulties arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the key measures include the government providing subsidies to eligible employers for six months to cover 50% of salaries capped at HKD 18,000 (i.e. HKD 9,000 per month) for each employee, provided that the employer undertakes not to implement redundancy. The distribution of the fund will be in two phases, with the first instalment arriving by June. An eligible employer means any employer who has been making Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) contributions for employees. The government will also grant a one-off subsidy to self-employed persons who have made MPF contributions.
For those sectors which are not completely covered by the MPF scheme (and therefore not eligible for the wage subsidy) such as catering, construction and transport (mainly taxi and red minibus drivers), the government would also provide financial support to the employers.
The government will also provide support for the hardest hit businesses, under which 16 sectors of businesses will receive a lump sum subsidy.