Stance on jobless aid explained

Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong today said additional temporary unemployment assistance will overlap with existing measures.    Answering lawmakers’ questions at the Legislative Council today, Dr Law explained that there are currently no systems such as a pay-as-you-go income tax system, contributory social insurance system or central provident fund system, and the Government cannot obtain detailed tax information of all employees in Hong Kong.   He said the implementation of a new unemployment assistance system would require serious and thorough deliberation as well as public discussion.   Apart from considering the new system in tandem with the existing severance payment or long service payment systems, the impacts of such a systemic change on the conduct of employers and employees as well as the overall economy and the ways to meet the resources required for the substantial work arising from system administration and abuse prevention have to be evaluated.   Regarding the suggestion on introducing a time-limited unemployment assistance system, Dr Law said the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme, as well as the current short-term measures with wide coverage, have assisted unemployed people and their families in tiding over short-term financial difficulties during the epidemic and economic downturn.   The temporary unemployment assistance, if provided, will therefore overlap with these existing measures, Dr Law added.   He noted that according to past experience, the Government should not be optimistic that the proposed so-called temporary unemployment assistance could be completed within a short period.   Dr Law emphasised that the Government will continue to listen to members of the public and provide more assistance for the unemployed and their families.
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