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UBS to compensate its HK staff for quarantine costs

Bloomberg

UBS Group AG will compensate its Hong Kong employees for quarantine costs, matching similar plans by US rivals, as global financial institutions step up efforts to retain staff weighed down by city’s strict zero-Covid policy.
Citadel, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley are among those to have rolled out compensation plans for Hong Kong staff. Goldman Sachs Group
Inc is reimbursing employees across Asia-Pacific, citing the “additional burden of multiple lockdowns and some of the strictest quarantine measures in the world.”
As most of the rest of the world is opening up, including rival financial hubs such as Singapore, London and New York, Hong Kong is steadfast in its zero-Covid-19 approach, which includes mandating a hotel quarantine stay of as many as three weeks for returning residents and visitors. While that has been successful in keeping infections and deaths at bay, a recent survey found almost half of major international banks and asset managers are contemplating moving employees or functions out of the financial center.
A stay at Hong Kong’s designated quarantine hotel can cost between HK$500 to HK$3,630 a night for a non-suite room.
The Zurich-based lender will pay executive directors or lower ranks HK$2,000 ($257) a day to cover costs from a mandatory quarantine stay, according to an internal memo that was confirmed by a Hong Kong-based spokesman. Employees are eligible to claim up to three weeks of accommodation costs, totaling HK$42,000 in a program that will run to November 20, 2022.
More than 200 Hong Kong employees of the US firm’s securities and hedge fund businesses will receive a one-time reimbursement of as much as HK$40,000 ($5,100).
to help cover the costs of a hotel quarantine in the city between this month and September 30, 2022. Staff can use that either for visits to families and loved ones or simply to spend some time away. They will also be allowed to roll over 10 days of their 2021 holiday into 2022, according to the policy.
The US bank offered to reimburse Hong Kong employees up to $5,000 to compensate for their quarantine stay, in a plan that will be in effect until November next year. All Hong Kong-based employees who are executive directors and below may claim the amount for a single quarantine stay for personal trips to visit immediate family members, which includes spouses, domestic partners, children, parents and grandparents. JPMorgan has 4,000 employees in the city.
The New York-based investment bank offered employees as much as HK$40,000 to cover quarantine. The one-time reimbursement will be available to all Hong Kong permanent employees when they return from a personal trip to visit immediate family members and will be in effect until November next year.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. staff in the Asia-Pacific region will be able to claim a one-time subsidy of up to $5,000 to cover quarantine costs starting on December 1. The subsidy is in recognition that staff in the region have faced “the additional burden of multiple lockdowns and some of the strictest quarantine measures in the world,” the US bank said in a memo.
BlackRock Inc. is offering to reimburse some employees in Hong Kong and Singapore as much as $2,000 to help defray quarantine costs. The reimbursement is available to permanent employees who are vice presidents and below and have been at the firm for at least a year. The program, which went into effect at the beginning of November, will compensate employees 50% of the cost of hotel quarantine.

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