The DAB and the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) on Monday called on the government to improve the appeal mechanism for a pandemic unemployment subsidy, after receiving numerous complaints that the contractor involved is being unhelpful regarding unsuccessful applications.
The Temporary Unemployment Relief scheme was launched earlier this year to help those who have lost their jobs during the fifth Covid wave.
Officials have said they have processed around 400,000 applications, or 85 percent of the total number submitted. They are aiming to distribute a one-off payment of HK$10,000 to all successful applicants within this month.
However, the DAB said some 300 people had sought help from them, claiming the approval criteria is unclear, an unreasonable time frame is set for applicants to provide supporting documents, and the contractor has not been helpful.
As an example, the party said two people who worked for the same company had applied for the payment and while one was accepted, the other was rejected. The DAB questioned whether human error could be at play because the application criteria is too complicated.
It also said unsuccessful applicants are having difficulties getting through to the contractor to appeal, and some said they had been discouraged from challenging their rejected requests.
"They would like to ask why, but the people who handle the hotline said there is no appeal mechanism. So that they cannot find any way to talk to the government and ask why," said DAB legislator Frankie Ngai.
The FTU also said it had received a number of complaints from unsuccessful applicants who said they didn't know what went wrong and that insufficient time was given for them to submit supporting documents.
The unionists also urged the government to set up a more convenient appeal mechanism and give people more time to provide documents.
In response to an RTHK enquiry, the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office said it is working closely with the government-appointed agent in handling applications for review.
A spokeswoman said if an applicant would like to appeal against the result, they can email them with the reasons and the matter will be referred to the agent for follow-up action.
She also said applicants are given five days to submit the required supporting documents and the majority of them are able to meet this deadline.
Last updated: 2022-05-17 HKT 14:52