Single parents in Hong Kong receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) will have to work 32 hours a month when their children reach the age of six instead of 15, an official said Saturday.
Speaking on two radio talk shows, Agnes Allcock, deputy director of Social Welfare, said the proposal aims to provide incentives and better preparation for single parents' eventual return to the workforce.
She said the number of single parents receiving CSSA cases has increased from about 6,000 to about 40,000 in the last 10 years.
They cost taxpayers 3 billion HK dollars (US$385 million) and is the second largest group of CSSA recipients after the elderly category.
Under the proposal, the 225 HK dollars (US$29) subsidy will only be granted to working single parents who fulfill the new requirement.
Noting that the proposal is not meant to save money, Allcock said the plan aims to encourage the dole recipients to help themselves and rebuild confidence before returning to the workforce.
She said Hong Kong SAR government has not set a timetable for implementing the new measures while a pilot scheme will be introduced at the district level first.
(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2005)