Social Security is chiefly a societal insurance plan which provides protection against socially recognized conditions, including poorness, old age, disablement, unemployment other societal issues ( Wikipedia, 2011 ) . In Hong Kong, since the unemployment rate surged after fiscal crisis in 1997, the SARs epidemic in 2003 and the fiscal tsunami in 2008, Social Security had taken the highest proportion of Social Welfare Services Expenses ( Wong, 2011 ) . Although the unemployment rate in Hong Kong is diminishing bit by bit from the old old ages, the figure of unemployment and the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ( CSSA ) instances had significantly increased over the decennary ( Wong, 2011 ) , The societal security in Hong Kong had hence being reformed and adjusted bit by bit to cover with low income, unemployment and other disadvantaged groups.
This paper tries to research the societal security services: the workfare programmes being implemented to undertake the issue of unemployment in Hong Kong with the accent on the work demands for able-body grownups having Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ( CSSA ) . Furthermore, the experience of workfare reform in the United States of America and United Kingdom would besides be studied and comparing of the differences in societal security policies among them will be discussed in this paper. This paper would besides seek to discourse recommendations for Hong Kong under the facet of workfare.
“ Workfare ” or “ Welfare to work ”
“ Workfare ” besides known as “ Welfare to work ” as defined by a lexicon is that it is a sort of public assistance in which public assistance receivers who are capable to work and execute have to work, frequently the occupations in public sector, and to take part in occupation preparations as a status of having aid ( workfare, n.d ) . The purpose of workfare is to help as many receivers as possible to be self-reliant/dependent by agencies of taking portion in labour market and occupation preparation classs so that they can gain adequate money to go forth the public assistance services and poorness ( Cebulla, Ashworth, Greenberg, & A ; Walker, 2005 ) .
Harmonizing to Handler ( 2002 ) , workfare in Western Europe is a public assistance that represents a basic alteration both in the sense of societal citizenship and societal public assistance. During the old age of public assistance province, citizens have the rights to societal benefits based on their position. However under the new workfare government, rights are merely applied to those who fulfill the duties and the societal citizenship alterations to a signifier of contract with the authorities instead than based on position ( Handler, 2002 ) . The term “ Workfare ” or “ Welfare to work ” fundamentally is theoretical account that aims to assist the people who are trusting on the societal public assistance to go forth the public assistance services through heightening employment, making occupation chances and supplying preparations. ( Wong, 2011 ) .
“ Workfare ” and eligibility demands for able-body CSSA receivers in Hong Kong
The Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ( CSSA ) is one of the strategies under Social Security Schemes in Hong Kong. The strategy was introduced 1993 to replace the Public Assistance Scheme ( PA ) and Particular Needs Allowance Scheme. The Social Welfare Department takes charge for administrating the CSSA Scheme. It is the cardinal pillar of the societal security system in Hong Kong and the chief characteristics of the CSSA Schemes are:
I ) The major constituent of Hong Kong ‘s societal security system, two ) The Scheme provides aid for those who can non back up themselves financially, three ) It is designed to convey the income of such persons and households up to a prescribed degree to run into their basic demands, four ) An applier has to fulfill a means-test and prescribed abode demand and V ) An able bodied unemployed applier has to inscribe in the Support for SFS Scheme as a status of having CSSA ( SWD, 2004 ) .
The two of import eligibility standards for CSSA are one ) Residence Requirement and and two ) Financial Tests. Under the Residence Requirement, the applier of the CSSA Scheme has to be the individual who has been populating in Hong Kong for continuously seven old ages or more than seven old ages and who has lived in Hong Kong for non less than 1 twelvemonth before the application. About the Financial Tests, it is required for the CSSA applier to take the mean trial which includes income and assets test where the income and assets of the whole household considered if the applier has a household. Applicants and the household members will be provided the CSSA if the entire monthly family income of the applier or the whole household is lower than the basic income degree to run into their basic demands. The other value of the assets such as land or belongingss, hard currency value of insurance policy, nest eggs in back history, investings in stocks and portions, and other assets would besides take into consideration during the trial ( SWD, 2011 ) .
Besides the general demands for the eligibility standards for CSSA, there are particular demand for able-bodied grownups: appliers who are from 15 to 59 old ages of age. The appliers under this age group in normal wellness have to run into one of the undermentioned conditions as mentioned clearly in The Guide to CSSA by SWD ( 2011 ) :
I ) Not being available for work for grounds acceptable to the Social Welfare Department ( for illustration, those who are analyzing or those who have to look after immature kids, sick, disabled household members at place ) , two ) Gaining non less than $ 1,685 per month and working non less than 120 hours per month, three ) In the instance of being unemployed or gaining less than $ 1,685 per month or working less than 120 hours per month, actively seeking full-time occupations and take parting in the Support for Self-reliance Scheme of the Social Welfare Department ( SWD, 2011 ) .
The Scheme specifically for the age group from 15 to 59 is the Support for Self-reliance Scheme. This plan aims to promote and help the able-bodied aged 15 to 59 who are unemployed or working parttime or those who are gaining less than the sum set by the Social Welfare Department so that those groups of people can be able to travel towards full-time employment. The Support for Self-reliance is composed of three chief plans: “ I ) Integrated Employment Assistance Scheme ( IEAS ) and Active Employment Assistance Programme ( AEA ) , two ) Community Work Programme ( CW ) , and three ) Disregarded Net incomes ( DE ) ” ( SWD, 2011 ) .
For the CSSA receivers who require the engagement in the SFS strategy will be provided up-to-date labour marker information and other necessary information to heighten employability. The participants have to carry through the duty to actively seek occupation by using at least two occupations every two hebdomads with the exclusion to those who are aged 50-59 to make so every month. The appliers have to do an action program together with the staff so as to happen occupation every two hebdomads. Furthermore, they have to take portion in the employment aid programmes organized by Social Welfare Department ( SWD, 2011 ) .
Additionally, the CSSA receivers besides have to take part in community work for a period of three yearss or 24 hours per hebdomad by the clip they are seeking for occupation. The clients are hence have to take part in the community work such as cleansing of state parks/schools/public countries to other public services. The arrangement of community work for the appliers is to assist them heighten self-esteem, to develop work wont, to better accomplishments for employment and to widen their societal web. The 3rd constituent under the Support for Self-reliance Scheme is Disregarded Net incomes ( DE ) which aims to promote CSSA receivers to hold a safe employment. The DE Scheme is once more divided into I ) Monthly DE Scheme where the monthly net incomes from employment are partly disregarded up to a upper limit of $ 2500 per month and two ) First Month of New Job DE Scheme where the CSSA receivers aged 15 or above from a new occupation will be wholly disregarded. Under this constituent, the receivers will be provided inducements through ignoring their excess earning with limited sum while they are having the CSSA ( SWD, 2011 ) .
Apart from the workfare programme plan for CSSA receivers aged 15-59, the HK SWD had besides introduced the “ New Dawn ” Undertaking which is a cut down strategy to authorise individual parents and kid health professionals on CSSA with the youngest kid aged between 12-14 to heighten the self-help capableness and accomplish autonomy and societal integrating through employment. Under this strategy, the receivers need to seek employment non less than 32 hours per month. Sanctions besides applied for non conformity under this strategy ( SWD, 2010 ) .
“ Workfare ” and the eligibility demands for TANF in the United States of America
The workfare in US could be discussed with the Major Legislation in the AFDC ( Aid to Family with Dependent Children ) and TANF ( Temporary Assistance to Needy Families ) for a better apprehension of the US experience. Analyzing the Tested Transfer Programs in the United States by Moffitt, ( 2003 ) , Workfare had transformed from the statute law of Social Security Act in the 1930s where the AFDC was created for low-income kids without a parent in family. After a twosome of amendments in the sixtiess, and in 1980s, a major characteristic of statute law had done where the receivers of AFDC were required to take portion in occupation hunt activity, or to take part in the community works as an exchange for their public assistance benefits. Since the caseload of AFDC had become heavier, with the debut of PRWORA ( Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act ) in 1996, President Clinton of the US signed the Act which replaced the AFDC by TANF ( Temporary Assistance to Needy Families ) ( Moffitt, 2003 ) .
The demand of the TANF is that all provinces are capable to a work engagement demand to take part at least 70 per centum of the public assistance population and for at least 30 hours a hebdomad. Since there are many provinces in US, there are differences depending on the provinces ( Crisp & A ; Fletcher, 2008 ) . TANF sets the standards as a cumulative life-time bound of five old ages and 27 provinces follow the clip bound, but the other provinces deviate from the five-year clip limit.. The eligibility receivers of TANF are the kids in low-income households as designated by province and the minor female parent must populate with parents and must besides go to school. Immigrants are ineligible for five old ages after entry and longer at province option. The work demands vary from 20 hours per hebdomad excepting instruction and preparations to 30 hours per hebdomad for individual female parents ( Moffitt, 2003 ) .
Many of the provinces in US like the “ work foremost ” attack that does non promote instruction and preparation. It focuses on employment or occupation and encourages the receivers to take up the occupation chance available so that they will acquire the benefits of employment regardless of matching and the degree of income. The thought and the manner it is implemented is to ease non merely the current receivers but besides the others before they get on public assistance to travel into the labour market every bit shortly as possible instead than back uping them in supplying preparation and instruction programmes for the long tally. Hence Handler ( 2002 ) discussed that many people end up in low paid occupations, inequality and poorness still remain terrible among the working hapless although more and more Americans are working harder ( Handler,2002 )
Workfare and the eligibility demands for New Deal in United Kingdom
The workfare programme in United Kingdom called New Deal could be best to discourse with the labour market shortly before the programme began. Britain was struck by long term unemployment in the 1980s and 1990s. The people who are dependent on the province but excluded from the labour market had risen up and the people on Incapacity Benefit hiked up to more than double. Therefore, in 1998, New Deal programme was foremost introduced aiming specifically on immature people who aged 18-24 to undertake the long-run unemployment in this specific age group ( DWP, 2008 ) . Harmonizing to Dolowitz ( 1998 ) as cited by Beaudry, 2002, The New Deal of United Kingdom had learned the experience of the US and the Swedish system of workfare and benefit eligibility for young person under which enforcement for occupation hunt and countenances for non-fulfillment are included ( Beaudry, 2002 ) .
The New Deal programme is supported by the revenue enhancement recognition of working households and the purpose of the programme is to help people get back to the labour market, to work every bit rapidly as possible ( Driver, 2004 ) . The New Deal reforms trades with different group of people with unemployment challenges which includes the following four plans for different receivers: I ) New Deal for Young People ( NDYP ) , which targets to unemployed youth aged 18-25 who have been unemployed for 6 months or longer and it takes the largest proportion of New Deal support. two ) New Deal for the Long-term Unemployed, marks to grownups: over 26 of age who have been unemployed for two old ages or more. three ) New Deal for Lone Parents, aims for individual parents with school age kids with the focal point on the employment reintegration demands. three ) New Deal for the Disabled is intended to help people who are having disablement benefits to be able to return to work ( Beaudry, 2002, Peck & A ; Jamie, 2001 ) .
Out of the different programmes, the NDYP is being emphasized a batch by the authorities. The process of the NDYP is that receivers foremost have to get down with reding session called Gateway where they have to better occupation hunt and interview accomplishments for a upper limit of 4-month-period while. Under the circumstance of failure at the initial Gateway session to be employed, there will be other demands to have public assistance benefits, i.e, . They need to take one of the followers options which last for 6 months: I ) A subsidised occupation arrangement with the subsidy of Ã¢â€šÂ¤60 per hebdomad for 6 months ; Ã¢â€šÂ¤750 preparation allowance is besides included, two ) Full clip instruction and preparation for 12 months whilst having benefit, three ) Work in the voluntary occupations where they shall have benefit plus Ã¢â€šÂ¤15 per hebdomad and four ) Work with the Environmental Projects ( Beaudry, 2002, Peck & A ; Jemi, 2001 & A ; Layard, 2001 ) .
Comparison and contrast of the differences: USA, UK and HK
The Social Security systems in these states are intended to supply minimal life criterions for the hapless and unemployed. However, the manner the service is delivered varies from one to another based on the demographic, societal considerations and the demands. The workfare programme had been implementing in the states of USA, UK and HK and as the eligibility demands and the characteristics the workfare programmes for able-bodies are mentioned in the earlier portion of this paper, it is observed that the services for the receivers in some facets similar and different in some others.
In doing comparing and contrast of the differences in these states, foremost, although the general thought of the programme is to authorise the able-bodied unemployed working force to come in into the labour market while having public assistance services, the attacks of the manner to labour market is different. In US, “ work-first ” attack is emphasized instead than the proviso of employment preparation and vocational instruction. In UK and in HK the attack can be said to be more long-run oriented in which receivers are provided with preparations, take clip in readying to come in labour market through planning. In UK, the planning procedure takes 4 months while in HK, planning and occupation seeking are integrated at the same clip. Second, speaking about the eligibility standard for the receivers, while UK and US have specific group of receivers, HK is more inclusive age runing from 15 to 59 which can be considered as comprehensive. The other thing to discourse the strengths and failing is about the benefit: the benefit and subsidy in UK is rather attractive for the receivers but the overdependence on the subsidy should be cautious about. In HK, the coverage for a larger coverage is observed as more comprehensive in undertaking unemployment since many of the on the job force are encouraged to come in into the labour market. On one manus, since the mark is big, the outgo would besides be straight relative to the mark. Additionally, the constitution of New Dawn Project in HK made some promotion for more comprehensive workfare programme.
Recommendation for HK
Under the facet of workfare in HK, the Social Welfare Department had commissioned the Intensified SFS step, to heighten the services and there had been some effectivity in employment, community work and in forestalling the addition of dependance on CSSA. The SWD besides had enhanced the DE and developed the clip to three old ages. With the committee of Intensified SFS Measures in 2003, the per centum of unemployment rate had decreased ( SWD, 2004 ) . However, besides the effectivity step done by the SWD, there still are unfavorable judgments about the ineffectualness of the strategies. Although the CAAS receivers have moved to use, those people merely end up in a province of low-income earners or working hapless and the strategies have really small consequence in undertaking unemployment issues but merely a service available that serve as a safety cyberspace for those who are truly in demand ( Wong & A ; Chan, 2010 ) .
For the betterment of the strategies, reappraisal or rating of the programmes should be done to further put up under macro and single facets. At the macro degree, the labour market policies can be improved with the accent on employment guidance and aid. Puting up of minimal rewards might besides assist so that those who are employed will hold a certain degree of income and be able to acquire out from the province of low-income earners or working hapless. More accent on occupation preparations, apprenticeship should be improved ( OECD, 2006 ) . At the single degree, activities can be organized so as to hike up the self-pride and psychosocial well being of the receivers.