Employment Support Scheme (“ESS”) – Update

The HKSAR Government held a press conference yesterday and announced that online application for the second tranche (providing wage subsidies for the months from September to November 2020) will be accepted from 31 August 2020 to 13 September 2020. Employers who have applied for the first tranche of wage subsidies (whether successful or not)must submit a fresh application and should use the same bank account to receive the subsidies. Once the application is approved, employers should be able to receive the wage subsidies in 3-4 weeks’ time

Employers applying for the second tranche of wage subsidies under ESS can choose any one month between December 2019 and March 2020 as the “specified month”. Employers who applied for the first tranche of subsidies may choose another month as the “specified month” in the second tranche. Wage cap and maximum wage subsidy for each employee remain at HK$18,000 per month and HK$9,000 per month respectively.

Employers who have been approved for the first tranche wage subsidies can re-select the “specified month” when applying for the second tranche subsidies.

For first time applicants and in order to be eligible for the second tranche, the Mandatory Provident Fund accounts of employers and employees must have been set up on or before 31 March 2020.

As of 18 August 2020 and under first tranche, the ESS has granted subsidies to 99% of the applicants – a total of 168,799 applications received with 1,790 remaining cases still in process and approximately 18,000 applications declined due to not eligible.

Frances Chan
9 August 2020