Hong Kong "Employment Support Scheme" (ESS)
Updated: May 26
The Government has now published further information on the practical workings of the “Employment Support Scheme”(ESS) as a way to support Hong Kong companies during Covid-19.
Provided below is a clickable link which will redirect you to the HK Government website, detailing the following: 1. Obligations as an employer 2. The Eligibility for employers and the self-employed 3. Wage Subsidies and Calculation 4. Application Period 5. How to apply for this support scheme and the information you will need 6. Penalties 7. Auditing & Monitoring 8. Contact details, should you have any questions Scroll down to view a summary of the above points. To view the full details on each section, please use the clickable link below to visit the Hong Kong Government site. It is understood this same link will be used by you, as the employer, to make applications from Monday 25th. Employers will be required to provide various undertakings during the application process. Black Mountain will be here to support by providing information, but it is currently understood that you will have to complete the application process. https://www.ess.gov.hk/en/#section1 The key points are: 1. Obligations • Not to make redundancies during the subsidy period; and • To spend all the wage subsidies on paying wages to the employees. 2. Eligibility • Generally speaking (with the exception of some ineligible employers) all employers who have been participating in MPF schemes will be eligible to apply. • The application should be in respect of regular employees for whom MPF Mandatory contributions have been made, regular employees being defined as those who are at least 18 but under 65 years of age and have been employed for a continuous period of 60 days. • Applications can also be made in respect of staff over 65 for whom voluntary contributions are made. • Where you have set up MPF exempt ORSO Schemes applications can still be made in respect of members of such schemes before 31 March. 3. Wage Subsidies and Calculation • Subsidies will be disbursed in two tranches, the first covering the period from June to August 2020 and the second September to November 2020. • Employers applying for the first tranche can nominate any one month between December 2019 and March 2020 as the “specified month”. The amount of wage subsidies will be calculated on the basis of the number of employees and their respective wages in the “specified month”. • The amount per employee will be based on 50% of the actual wages paid to each regular employee in the specified month with a wage cap of HKD 18,000 per month. The maximum wage subsidy per employee is HKD 9,000 per month. • If your employees are aged over 65 the subsidy will be based on the wage information provided when making voluntary contributions for them or else a multiple of the voluntary contribution figure. 4. Application Period Online applications for the first tranche will open from 25 May to 14 June 2020. It is expected that you will receive the subsidy three to four weeks after application. For applications involving ORSO Schemes a longer processing time may be required. The Second tranche of subsidies will be disbursed in September 2020 5. How to apply and Information Required • You need to complete the application form online and upload the required supporting documents. Information required - Business Registration number or other registration number (eg. Company Registration number). Note the name of the Employer should match that in the certificate. - Name of the MPF Trustee, the name of the Employer should be the same as the name on the MPF Records - Name of the MPF Scheme and Scheme Registration /Participation number. - Number of Eligible employees • Documents to be uploaded - Company Bank account number with scanned copy of bank statement (name on the bank statement must match the applicant) • Standard form listing Number of Eligible employees providing the relevant income and contribution made in respect of each employee in the specified month (but not the individuals name or ID card number) 6. Penalties • If you fail to use all the subsidies received for a particular month to pay employees the Government will claw back the unspent amount. • Only need to provide list of employees where there are some employees with wages paid by the government. In application you apply for the full March headcount (whether or not headcount has reduced) – there will then be penalties for the amount the headcount has reduced. 7. Auditing and Monitoring • ESS Secretariat will vet and conduct sample verification of the information submitted and conduct on-site checking • Government will announce list of employers who have received subsidies, the number of employees benefited and the amount of subsidy. 8. Contact Details The Government has provided in the link a number of contact details should you wish to make enquiries.