BlackRock to pay Singapore, HK staff US$2,000 for quarantine

BlackRock to pay HK, Singapore staff US$2,000 for quarantine. (PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
BlackRock to pay HK, Singapore staff US$2,000 for quarantine. (PHOTO: ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) — BlackRock Inc is offering to reimburse some employees in Hong Kong and Singapore as much as US$2,000 to help defray costs of hotel quarantine stays of as long as three weeks.

The reimbursement is available to permanent employees in the two hubs, who are vice presidents and below and have more than 12 months of continuous service, according to an internal memo that was seen by Bloomberg News and confirmed by a spokesperson. The program, which went into effect at the beginning of November, will compensate employees 50% of the cost of hotel quarantine.

A growing number of global firms in Hong Kong are helping with expenses related to hotel quarantine. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are offering employees about US$5,000 to offset quarantine costs amid growing concerns over staff retention in the financial hub.

Read more: Global Firms Are Paying Up to Deal With Hong Kong’s Quarantine

Officials in Hong Kong are trying to keep Covid cases at zero with some of the world’s strictest quarantine measures, in part to open travel between the city and mainland China. A stay at Hong Kong’s designated quarantine hotel can cost between HK$500 (US$64) to HK$3,630 per night for a non-suite room.

The finance industry has been ratcheting up pressure on Hong Kong to ease its quarantine rules and abandon its zero-Covid policy amid concern it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain talent. A survey found almost half of major international banks and asset managers are contemplating moving staff or functions out of the city.

Singapore has slowly been pivoting away from a strategy of walling out the virus, gradually allowing more cases and opening its border to different countries. It has started a number of vaccinated travel lanes to facilitate activity in and out of the city — with 13 countries under the programme — but requires quarantine for other countries.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.