29. In light of the deteriorating employment situation, I will provide an additional annual funding of $30 million to enhance the employment programmes of the Labour Department, with a view to further encouraging employers to hire the elderly, young people and persons with disabilities. These initiatives include raising the ceiling of the on-the-job training allowance payable to employers under the Employment Programme for the Elderly and Middle-aged, the Youth Employment and Training Programme as well as the Work Orientation and Placement Scheme. The enhanced measures are expected to be implemented in the second half of this year and benefit some 4 000 persons annually.
30. The Employees Retraining Board (ERB) will enhance the new tranche of the Love Upgrading Special Scheme to be launched in July this year and provide about 10 000 additional places, in order to provide training and allowance for employees affected by the economic downturn. The ERB will also, through legislative amendment, increase the maximum amount of monthly allowance of each eligible trainee from $4,000 to $5,800. This initiative will benefit over 40 000 trainees annually and incur an additional expenditure of about $2.5 billion.
31. The Construction Industry Council (CIC) will draw $200 million from its levy income to provide around 6 000 eligible small and medium-sized contractors and registered subcontractors with a financial subsidy, capped at $20,000 each, to tide the industry over the present difficulties. The CIC will also provide training allowances to those underemployed in‑service workers attending its training courses so as to upgrade their skills.
32. In view of the deteriorating economic and employment conditions as a result of the novel coronavirus epidemic, the Government will provide a one-off special allowance to about 200 000 eligible low-income households under the Anti-epidemic Fund.
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