On 8 April 2020, the Government of HKSAR (“the Government”) announced a HK$137.5 billion package of relief measures to help individuals and businesses tide over financial difficulties during the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition to the HK$120 billion package announced in the Budget and the HK$30 billion Anti-epidemic Fund, this is the third round of relief.
A summary is listed as below:
Introduce an HK$80 billion Employment Support Scheme (“ESS”). Under the ESS, the Government would provide wage subsidies to eligible employers to retain their employees in return for employers undertaking not to implement redundancy. The subsidy is calculated based on 50% of the monthly salary, which is capped at HK$18,000, for a period of six months. The subsidy will be disbursed to the employers by two payments, with the first payment will be made in June 2020.
Provide supports to employers in the catering, construction and transport (mainly taxi and red minibus drivers) sectors which are not completely covered by the MPF scheme.
Grant a one-off subsidy to self-employed persons who made MPF contributions.
Provide additional 16 types of support for hard-hit sectors, including tutorial schools, service providers and suppliers for schools and post-secondary education institutions, registered coaches, the estate agency sector, passenger transport sector, etc.
Provide measures to encourage staff in various professions to learn new skills and help enterprises to apply technology.
The Government will create 30,000 jobs in the coming two years.
Government rental concessions from April to September 2020 to increase from 50% to 75%.
Lower MTR fares by 20% for six months from 1 July 2020.
Temporarily relax the monthly public transport expense threshold of the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme from HK$400 to HK$200 for a time-limited period of six months between July 2020 and December 2020.
SME Financing Guarantee Scheme to be enhanced, raising the maximum loan amount per enterprise.
Deadline for payment of tax for year of assessment 2018/19 that will be falling due will be automatically extended for three months, with details to be announced by the Inland Revenue Department.