Today we received more information on the previously announced economic support initiative by the HKgov, called ESS (Employment Support Scheme). The new information provided now includes a starting date for applications: 25 May 2020.
Generally speaking, with the exception of ineligible employers (mainly organisations whose employees’ salaries are not affected by the epidemic, for example, the HKGov, statutory bodies, sub vented organisations with employees’ salaries subsidised by the Government), all employers who have been making MPF contributions for employees (including Master Trust Schemes and Industry Schemes) or who have set up MPF-exempted Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance (ORSO) schemes, may apply for ESS.
To further clarify eligibility & to prevent people from applying for wage subsidy by establishing a new company and opening MPF accounts, the MPF accounts of the relevant employers & employees applying for the wage subsidy should have been set up on or before March 31, 2020 (i.e. cannot be backdated to that date or any earlier dates). In other words, employers with the MPF accounts set up on or after April 1, 2020 will not be eligible for the first tranche of wage subsidy.
Employers participating in the ESS must provide an undertaking not to make redundancies during the subsidy period, and to spend all the wage subsidies on paying wages to the employees.