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Employment Support Scheme FAQs

Employment Support Scheme Information

Employment Support Scheme receives overwhelming response on first day of application
Up to 6pm on May 25, over 41 000 applications from employers and about 27 000 applications from self-employed persons had been received. Eligible employers and self-employed persons can submit online applications for the first tranche of wage subsidies through the ESS Online Portal at www.ess.gov.hk until 11.59pm on June 14 (Sunday).


The ESS of $81 billion aims to provide time-limited financial support to employers to retain their employees, hence maintaining the strength for Hong Kong.
- Applications for the first round of funding open on Monday 25 May.

Generally, with the exception of ineligible employers (mainly organisations whose employees' salaries are not affected by the epidemic, for example, the HKSAR Government, statutory bodies, subvented 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.  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. If an employer fails to comply with the undertaking, the Government will claw back the unspent balance of the wage subsidy or/and impose other penalty.  Details of the ESS are available from its dedicated website: www.ess.gov.hk.

Application for the first tranche of wage subsidy under the ESS can be made from 25 May 2020.  Eligible employers and self-employed persons (SEPs) can lodge online application from 25 May to 14 June 2020 via the ESS dedicated website.


For enquiries, email  enquiry@employmentsupport.hk or call the hotline at 183 6122 (open from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday).  Service hours will be from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Sunday during the application period ( May 25 to 14 June 2020).

1. Can non-profit organisations such as chambers of commerce apply? (They set up as a company, employees paying MPF)
Non-profit organisations will be eligible for the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) so long as they have been making Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) contributions or have set up Occupational Retirement Schemes (ORSO schemes) for their employees.  The wage subsidies provided by the Government will be calculated on the basis of 50% of wages in the “specified month”.  Employers may choose any one month from January to March 2020 as the “specified month” depending on the circumstances of their businesses.

2. It is understood the number of staff must remain constant from March – through the life of the ESS. However, can the individual staff members change?
Eligible employers joining the ESS will be required to provide an undertaking not to implement redundancy during the subsidy period and to spend all the government wage subsidies in paying wages to their employees.  We allow the composition of employees during the subsidy period (for example in June) to be different from that of March, so long as the employers will not implement redundancy in overall terms during the subsidy period.

3. Can that number include staff who are retained but whose hours are reduced? That is, can this cover staff who are working reduced hours.
We allow the working hours of individual employees during the subsidy period to be different from January to March 2020.  The employees may be engaged in full-time or part-time work as each enterprise’s circumstances differ during the subsidy period.

Fact Sheet | Hong Kong Business Support Measures

Booklet | Hong Kong Business Support Measures

All current HKSAR Government SME Support Schemes overview


SUCCESS (www.success.tid.gov.hk)

SUCCESS provides SMEs a one-stop information and consultation service on government funding schemes. Membership is free with access to regular seminars and workshops, practical business information and consultation services free of charge.
Electronic newsletters are sent biweekly with updates on the latest SME support initiatives including governmen funding schemes and latest rules and regulation. https://www.success.tid.gov.hk/english/registration/membership/membership.html

Sign up for a 1-1 session with the Hong Kong Productivity Council on Government Funding Schemes - Email bookings@austcham.com.hk




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