The Legislative Council Finance Committee has approved funding to launch the HKD81 billion Employment Support Scheme (ESS) as part of the Government's second round of Anti-epidemic Fund measures. All employers who have been making Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) contributions or have set up Occupational Retirement Schemes (ORSO schemes) for employees are eligible.

The amount of subsidy for eligible employers will be calculated based on 50% of the actual wages paid to employees at a specified month (being any one month from January to March 2020 to be nominated by the employer) with a wage cap at HKD18,000 per month (i.e. the maximum subsidy is HKD9,000 per month per employee) for six months.

On 20 April 2020, a press release was issued by the Government during which the following was clarified:

  • following the approval of the ESS application, the number of employees on payroll shall not be less than the number of employees in March 2020
  • the wage subsidies applied by employees must be used fully for employees’ wages
  • payment is to be disbursed in two tranches with the first
  • payment before end of June 2020 to subsidise employers to pay employees’ wages from June to August 2020.

Applications for the Subsidy

Applications for the first tranche will start before the end of May 2020 till the first week of June 2020, with the aim of making the first pay out to employers within June to help pay wages for June to August 2020. Application dates for the second tranche will be announced in due course, with payment to be made in September 2020 for paying wages of September to November 2020.

The detailed application and payment mechanisms are still being worked out.  The Government is liaising with MPF trustees and relevant stakeholders to work out implementation details, which will be announced before application for the first tranche is invited.

All employers who have been making Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) contributions or have set up Occupational Retirement Schemes (ORSO schemes) for employees are eligible.

How can Marbury help?

Once further guidance on the application process has been finalised and released,  Marbury will be in a position assist you in the following ways, on behalf of your business:

  • Assess your business’s eligibility
  • Plan the application process
  • Implement the application - where we have appropriate access to the relevant portals or depending on the requirements
  • Assist in response to any queries
  • Finalise and implement the subsidy

We will provide an update on the process once the guidelines have been issued and contact clients whom may benefit from the ESS in due course.

For more information on Marbury's Payroll Services contact info@marburys.com.