立場新聞 Stand News

從防疫經濟中推動 「公義復甦」 

2020/4/8 — 15:16

資料圖片

資料圖片

從防疫經濟中推動「公義復甦」
公共專業聯盟與香港民主促進會
框架建議書

新冠肺炎疫情對社會及經濟影響實屬史無前例,因此政府和國際社會均需作出迅速與果斷的行動。這些措施不僅會影響市民如何應對現今的危機,更會塑造我們未來的社會形態。

對於香港而言,任何政府應對措施均應顧及以下的事實:

廣告
  • 香港的貧窮率超過 20%
  • 香港受高度經濟不平等所累,在全球發達城市中堅尼系數最高
  • 香港勞工權利保障較弱,因為沒有工會集體談判權

另一方面,香港政府擁有令人欣羨的財政盈餘。有鑑於此,我們認為香港政府的政策回應應該按照以下三項原則設計,以確保疫情完結時社會能達致公義復甦。

  1. 保障生計 — 向市民直接發放補貼,特別應關顧最脆弱的弱勢社群
  2. 保障就業 — 支援措施應舆保障就業掛鉤,從而減少在危機中市民所受的痛苦以及在危機後能夠迅速復原
  3. 保護企業 — 焦點應集中於最容易受收入下降所打擊的中小企

雖然疫情會持續多久存在高度的不確定性,為了防止對政府介入的長期依賴,此等措施均應在設計時包含時限。我們建議政府從速採納以下措施:

廣告

1. 失業援助補貼

  • 自從 2020 年 1 月 30 日起失業的人士可獲發每月 7,500 元,為期六個月從 2020 年 2 月 1 日生效至 2020 年 7 月 31 日止
  • 現今有 134,000 失業人士,補貼總成本約港幣 60 億元。即使失業率升至整體勞動力的 10%,總成本仍然不會超出 120 億元。

2. 就業保障計劃

  • 對於不希望永久流失僱員的僱主,他們可以選擇替過剩的僱員安排獲得部分支薪的特別離職休假。政府向此等公司為每名特別離職休假的僱員支付 80% 的薪酬,上限為每月 25,000 元港幣,從 5 月 1 日起至 7 月 31 日止。若果疫情持續,此項計劃可以延長三個月。
  • 對於政府庫房,即使補助金額以每月上限 25,000 元計算全額補助 186,000 名市民,(就業人數的 10%,320,000 減去 134,000 現行失業人士 = 186,000),總之出為 140 億元(以三個月計算)但在現實上將會低於此數。

3. 支援自僱人士

  • 對於自僱人士,若果他們的收入下跌 30% 或以上,他們可獲得政府補貼過去三年平均月薪的 80%,上限為 25,000 元,從 5 月 1 日起至 7 月 31 日止。
  • 若果疫情持續此項計劃可以延長三個月。

4. 支援商業租戶

對於因為疫情影響而陷入財務困難的商業租戶,按照以下準則,可以獲得六個月的暫緩迫遷保障:

  • 對於受到疫情影響而陷入財務困難的商業租戶,即使未能繳交租金,也可以獲得一項短期及暫時的凍結迫遷保障
  • 鼓勵業主與租戶協商減免租金或臨時修訂租約
  • 對於沒有受疫情嚴重影響的業主或租客,應按照租賃合約履行責任

我們促請政府為上述四項措施制定詳細指引,並參照以上準則從速實施。

司馬文
公共專業聯盟
香港民主促進會
2020 年 4 月 8 日

(以下為英文版本)

ProCom calls for measures to safeguard jobs and companies

Today the Professional Commons and The Hong Kong Democratic Foundation on submitted proposals to government under the title “A JUST RECOVERY FROM A QUARANTINE ECONOMY“.

The social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. It demands swift and bold action from governments and the international community. The measures taken now will not only affect how people can cope with the current crisis, but also how we shape our future society. 

We urge Hong Kong government to take into account of the following realities when considering response measures aimed at safeguarding jobs and companies: 

  1. Hong Kong has a poverty rate of over 20%;
  2. Hong Kong suffers from a high level of economic inequality, with the highest Gini Coefficient among developed cities;
  3. Labour rights in Hong Kong enjoy weak protection because of the lack of collective bargaining power through trade unions. 

On the other hand, Hong Kong enjoys an enviable level of government reserves compared with most economies. In view of this, we believe the policy response by the Hong Kong Government should be designed in accordance with the following three principles to ensure a just recovery when we reach the other side of the crisis:

  1. Protect livelihood – offer direct benefits to people, in particular the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities;
  2. Protect jobs – support measures linked to job protection, so as to reduce suffering during the crisis and to enable swift recovery after the crisis;
  3. Protect business – focus on SMEs who are most vulnerable to revenue collapse.

Whilst there is a high degree of uncertainty as to how long the pandemic may last, to avoid entrenched dependence on government intervention, measures should be time-limited by design. The following is a framework for the design of support measures.

  • Unemployment benefits: Those who are unemployed as of 31/1/2020 would be paid HK$7,500 per month from 1/2/2020 for the 6 months to 31/7/2020. With currently 134,000 unemployed, the cost is HK$6 billion. Even if unemployment went up to 10% of the workforce, the total cost would not be more than HK$12 billion. 
  • Job retention scheme: For employers who do not want to lose employees permanently, they can take the option to put surplus staff on partly paid leave (furlough).

The Government would reimburse the company 80% of basic salary for each furloughed employee up to a maximum of HK$25,000 per month from 1st May to 31st July, 2020. The scheme may be extended for three months if the situation has not improved. As far as the government coffers is concerned, even if the subsidies are paid out at the top rate of HK$25,000 per month for say 186,000 people (10% of workforce, 320,000 less 134,000 currently unemployed = 186,000), it would cost HK$14 billion (for 3 months) and in reality less.

  • Support the self-employed: For people who are self-employed, if their turnover has dropped by 30% or more, they can receive a government subsidy of 80% of the average of the last 3-years monthly income up to a maximum of HK$25,000 per month from 1st May to 31st July, 2020. The scheme may be extended for a further three months if the situation has not improved.
  • Support for commercial renters: Evictions will be put on hold over the next 6 months for commercial tenancies in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus. The following principles should apply: a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to the coronavirus; tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease; and landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements.

Paul Zimmerman
Chairman
The Professional Commons 
The HK Democratic Foundation

發表意見