Employment scheme details outlined

May 18, 2020

Subsidies for the first tranche of the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) will be calculated on the basis of the wages paid in one of the months specified by the employers from December 2019 to March 2020.


Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong made the remarks during a press conference today to introduce the scheme's implementation details.

Applications can be submitted online via the ESS portal from May 25 to June 14.


“Basically in the application form, there is no need (for employers) to declare the salary or the number of employees they employ. What they have to do is provide consent so that our processing agent can obtain the relevant information from the trustees of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) Schemes.


“All those records are historical records, so there is no particular declaration that is required. Also, there will be no exaggerations or manipulation of data so to speak, because all these things were already part of the history by the time that we announced the details of this scheme.


“(Employers) will be required to submit the relevant information after they have received the subsidy, so that is the checkpoint. By the time they are applying for the second tranche, they should be able to provide the information for June and for July too.”


The scheme's subsidy period is from June to August and employers who apply for the wage subsidy must have contributed to their employees’ MPF or Occupational Retirement Schemes that were set up on or before March 31.


“From June to August, for the first tranche, all the relevant information will be part of the history. After that time, they will be required to provide the information again through the trustees to our processing agent for us to double check the information,” Dr Law noted.


Employers joining the scheme have to provide an undertaking not to implement redundancies during the subsidy period and spend all wage subsidies from the Government in paying wages to their employees or face being penalised.


They will be penalised if the number of employees on the payroll in any one month of the subsidy period is smaller than the number of staff in March. The penalty percentage varies according to the number of people employed.

If an employer fails to use all the wage subsidies received for a particular month during the subsidy period to pay employees' wages in the same month, the Government will claw back the unspent balance of the subsidy.


“I can add one very minor point in terms of the procedure. Because there will be two tranches of the subsidy, the penalty or the claw back for administration can be applied to the second tranche subsidy.


“Instead of getting the money back directly, we can deduct them in the second tranche. But for the second tranche, the claw back or penalties, we will definitely have to go back to the employers and ask them to give us back the money. It is slightly different in the first and the second tranche arrangement.”


Click here for more details.

Back to top