Hong Kong introduces Workfare scheme for working poor families

Hong Kong is putting in place a Workfare-style scheme to supplement the income of its working poor.

Unlike Singapore's wage-supplement scheme though, the Hong Kong government's handouts will be fully in cash.

To qualify, families must have at least one member who works for more than 144 hours a month. They must earn less than half of the city's median household income - which is the definition of poverty in Hong Kong.

There is also no age floor, unlike in Singapore where only those above 35 may apply.

Those with children can also get an additional allowance of HK$800 (S$131) for each child.

So for instance, a four-member family with two children can get between HK$2,200 and HK$2,600 a month.

The new scheme was announced on Wednesday by Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying in his annual policy address to lay out his government's policies for the coming year.

More than 200,000 low income families with 710,000 members will benefit from the scheme which is estimated to cost HK$3 billion a year.


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