The Hong Kong Government has just announced that applications for the Second Tranche of the ESS Wage subsidy will open on 31 August and run until 13 September 2020. This will cover the 3 months September to November. It is anticipated, if there are no problems with an application, subsidies will be received within 3-4 weeks from the application date; albeit the inclusion of ORSO schemes will cause some delay.
As previous Employers will be required to warrant that:
1. They will not implement any redundancies during the subsidy period
2. To spend all the money on paying wages to their employees.
In order to be eligible for the Second Tranche MPF (or ORSO), accounts should have been set up before 31 March 2020.
As with the First Tranche, applying Employers can chose any month between December 2019 and March 2020 to be the “specified month”; this need not be the same month as was used in the previous claim.
Even if an Employer applied for the First Tranche, they must still make a new application for the Second Tranche. However, the application number and password used for the first application will also apply for the second. By entering this information into the application web page, the previously entered information will be automatically displayed for checking.
If the same “specified month” is chosen, there will be no need to enter or upload the MPF information again. If a different month is chosen, the applicant will need to follow the instructions in the application page and upload the requisite information – not yet confirmed but presumably this will be the same sort of information as required for the first application.
Applicants are not allowed to change the bank account information on the online application. If for any exceptional reason this information has changed the applicant will need to log onto the ESS Applications Service Portal.
For Employers who did not apply for the First Tranche, applications for the Second Tranche are still possible, log onto the Application website and make a new application entering the same simple information as was required for First Applicants.
Penalties calculated in the same way as for the First Tranche will be applied in respect of the Second Tranche where staff are made redundant or not all monies received have been used to pay wages in a particular month.
Where penalties have accrued from the First Tranche this will be deducted from the Second Tranche payment, this may delay receipt of the monies. Additionally the Government has the right to reject claims where the number of staff laid off was substantial and there is not proper explanation.