The first batch of successful applicants can expect to receive the handout from early May.
A new round of Employment Support Scheme (ESS) is set to open for application starting 29 April 2022, and the first batch of successful applicants can expect to receive the handout from early May.
Eligible employers will receive up to HK$8,000 wage subsidies per month for each eligible employee for a period of three months, i.e. May, June and July 2022, while eligible self-employed persons can also apply for a one-off subsidy.
Dr Law Chi-kwong, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, said at a press conference on Monday (25 April 2022) that the subsidies will help businesses restore their confidence to rebound from the pandemic and increase job opportunities for full-time and part-time workers as the local epidemic situation eases with the relaxation of social distancing measures and the recent handing out of a new round of consumption vouchers.
It's worth noting that there will be no more monthly salary cap for employees eligible for the wage subsidy and companies will be allowed to flexibly change the number of employees for each subsidy month in response to evolving market conditions. However, employers will have to return the relevant amount of subsidy and pay a penalty if they fail to employ sufficient number of employees during the subsidy period.
Here's some key information about the scheme.
When to apply
From 29 April 2022 at 8:00 am to 12 May 2022 at 11:59 pm.
May, June, and July 2022 (three months).
Who is eligible
How to apply
- Only online application is accepted.
- Applicants should duly complete and submit the online application form and upload the necessary documents.
- Employer applicants with applications approved in the 2020 ESS are required to submit applications by using their 2020 ESS application number and business registration number.
- Applicants will receive notification by email and SMS message upon successful submission of the online application form and an application number and a password will be issued. Applicants may log onto the 2022 ESS website to check the application status and results anytime.
Subsidised quota and maximum subsidy amount
Subsidised quota will be divided into three categories, the subsidy amount will be calculated based on the monthly wage of applicants’ records in the 'reference month':
|Monthly wage in 'reference month' (HKD)||Monthly subsidy amount (for each employee)|
|Full subsidy quota||HK$8,000 or more||HK$8,000|
|Half subsidy quota||At least HK$3,000 but less than HK$8,000||HK$4,000|
|Elderly subsidy quota||Employees aged 65 or above with less than HK$3,000||HK$4,000|
|Max no. of employees eligible for subsidies in each subsidy month|
|Applicants’ declared core business belongs to sectors in the Restricted List||100|
When to disburse subsidies
The employers’ wage subsidies will be paid in four tranches. Applicants will be notified of their application results via SMS and email. If approved, the subsidy will be credited to the applicant’s bank account listed in the application form.
|1st tranche||100% of subsidies of May 2022|
|2nd tranche||100% of subsidies of June 2022|
|3rd tranche||70% of subsidies of July 2022|
|4th tranche||30% of subsidies of July 2022 after deducting subsidies to be returned to the Government and penalties to be paid (if any)|
Employers’ undertaking and penalty
In each subsidy month, applicants shall undertake to:
- Employ sufficient number of employees;
- Spend all the wage subsidies received for that month during the subsidy period on paying wages to employees in the same month.
The Secretariat and the government-appointed agent may conduct further reviews and randomly verify the information submitted by employer applicants, and conduct on-site audits at the employer organisation during and after the vetting process of an application.
If applicants are unable to fully fulfil the above undertaking in any month within the subsidy period, apart from returning the relevant subsidy amount, they are also required to pay a penalty equivalent to 10% of the subsidy amount to be returned.
For more details, please visit the 2022 ESS website.
Image / HKSAR Government