Employment Support Scheme Package in Hong Kong – The Financial Support to Employers
The Government is Offering Limited-time Financial Support for Businesses in Need
Hong Kong’s Government has announced the Employment Support Scheme Package which will provide financial support for a limited-time to employers.
The packaged is valued at $81 billion and aimed to help employees retain their staff. The first tranche of the Employment Support Scheme Package (ESS) will provide three-months of wage subsidies to cover June until August 2020. Applications begin from 25 May and will last for approximately 3-weeks.
What’s Covered Under the Employment Support Scheme Package?
Four areas of improvement have been announced under the ESS, and they are:
- Extending the coverage for those 65-years and above. The coverage will fall under the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) scheme.
- ESS and MPF Industry Schemes to be extended (these were previously not part of the plan).
- Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) eligibility has been relaxed. Those who set up MPF accounts either before or on 31 March can apply for a one-off subsidy if the account is still open.
- Subsidies are calculated per 50% of the employee’s actual wages at the “specified month”
Except for employers who are not eligible, all employers who have been making regular contributions to the MPF for their employees can apply for the ESS package. It is important to note that the MPF accounts must have been opened either before or on 31 March 2020 to be considered eligible. If the account was set up 1 April and beyond, you will not qualify for the first tranche.
Other Criteria to Apply for the Employment Support Scheme Package
If you intend to apply for the ESS, you must agree not to make your employees redundant during this period. All wage subsidies must be paid to employees. Failure to comply with these undertakings will resent in a penalty. The details will be announced later.
To apply, employers only need to submit one application. Applications can be made from 25 May. Wage subsidies can be expected three to four weeks after submission. Applications will be processed as quickly as possible to avoid payment delays. If you are applying for ESS, you must authorise that the ESS processing agent can receive information related to the MPF contributions. The agent will be appointed by the Government.
The Hong Kong Government will announce more details about the application procedure and penalty incurred soon. After that, there will be a website dedicated to the ESS that will be operating. Any enquiries can be directed to email@example.com. Alternatively, you may call the service’s hotline between 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays.