The 2022 Employment Support Scheme has been completed. The Scheme’s telephone hotline 1836-122 and email email@example.com has ceased operation. Please note that applicants must retain the original copy of all application-related documents until May 2024.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has launched the 2022 Employment Support Scheme (“the Scheme”) under the Anti-epidemic Fund to provide wage subsidies to employers for three months (i.e. May, June and July 2022) to retain their current employees or even employ more staff when the business revives as soon as the epidemic situation permits. Eligible self-employed persons can also apply for a one-off subsidy.
The application period of the Scheme is from 29 April 2022 at 8:00 am to 12 May 2022 at 11:59 pm.
An applicant should apply in the capacity of a company/ corporation/ organisation/ natural person and must fulfil all of the following criteria:
An applicant should apply in an individual capacity as a self-employed person and must fulfil all of the following criteria:
Must have successfully created an MPF “Self-employed person” account (“MPF SEP account”) on or before 31 December 2021, and has not terminated the account at the time of application; and
If an eligible self-employed person has more than one “MPF SEP account”, only one application can be submitted.
An “MPF SEP account” is opened by a person who has enrolled himself/herself in an MPF scheme as an “SEP”. Generally, MPF contribution records of SEPs would show descriptions such as an “SEP” account. In accordance with the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (Cap 485), an “SEP” is a person whose relevant income (otherwise than in the capacity as an employee) derives from his production (in whole or in part) of goods or services in Hong Kong, or his trade in goods or services in or from Hong Kong. An MPF account opened in the capacity as an “employee” or a “personal MPF account” in any form is not eligible.
Wage subsidy and calculation method
Applicants whose applications had been successfully approved in the 2020 Employment Support Scheme (“2020 ESS”) shall specify the records they intend to use by the government-appointed agent to calculate the “subsidised quota cap” and the “maximum subsidy amount”. Other applicants shall use their records as at the fourth quarter of 2021 (“2021 Q4 records”) as the calculation basis. Please refer to the table as follows –
|Applicants whose application for 2020
ESS had been approved
|Applicants whose application for 2020
ESS had not been approved/not having applied for 2020 ESS
|Can choose between (1) their MPF/ORSO Schemes records of the 2020 ESS (“2020 ESS records”); or (2) their MPF/ORSO Schemes records as at the fourth quarter of 2021 (“2021 Q4 records”)
If (1) is chosen, the “reference month” shall be the “specified month” selected by applicants under the 2020 ESS
If (2) is chosen, the “reference month” shall be a month within the period between October and December 2021 which can bring the highest level of the “maximum subsidy amount”
As there is a need to obtain “2021 Q4 records” from MPF trustees/employers who have set up ORSO Schemes, applicants who choose this option will take longer for assessment and subsidy disbursement
Shall use their MPF/ORSO Schemes records as at the fourth quarter of 2021 (“2021 Q4 records”)
The “reference month” shall be a month within the period between October and December 2021 which can bring the highest level of the “maximum subsidy amount”
Applicants using “2021 Q4 records” should note that –
For MPF Schemes, the government-appointed agent will choose on applicants’ behalf based on the relevant MPF records and the above principle. Applicants with ORSO Schemes should directly submit the necessary documents in relation to their choice of the “reference month” during the online application; and
The Scheme will only consider the MPF contribution records or ORSO schemes set up on or before 28 February 2022. In other words, contributions for the fourth quarter of 2021 that were made after on or 1 March 2022 will not be taken into account in the calculation.
Subsidised quota cap and maximum subsidy amount
The government-appointed agent will calculate applicants’ “subsidised quota cap” and “maximum subsidy amount” based on applicants’ records in the “reference month” as follows:
|Monthly wage1 in “reference month”||Respective subsidy quota according to the number of employees2 within the wage range||Monthly maximum subsidy amount|
|$8,000 or more||= “Full subsidy quota”||$8,000 x “Full subsidy quota”|
|At least $3,000 but less than $8,000||= “Half subsidy quota”||$4,000 x “Half subsidy quota”|
|Employees aged 65 or above with less than $3,000||= “Elderly subsidy quota3”||$4,000 x “Elderly subsidy quota”|
|Total||“Subsidised quota cap”||“Maximum subsidy amount”|
Other than the following two conditions related to the “sector-specific cap”, the “subsidised quota cap” calculated according to the table above will be the maximum number of employees eligible for subsidies in each subsidy month –
Chosen subsidised headcount
Applicants can apply to each subsidy month the number of employees in different categories they intend to hire and receive subsidies for. The government-appointed agent will calculate the subsidy amount eligible for each month according to the table below. Please refer to the calculation illustrations.
|Proposed employee headcounts by applicants||Subsidy received each month||Conditions met by proposed employee headcounts|
|“Full subsidy headcount”||$8,000 x “full subsidy headcount”||“Full subsidy headcount” not exceeding “full subsidy quota”|
|“Half subsidy headcount”||$4,000 x “half subsidy headcount”||“Half subsidy headcount” not exceeding “half subsidy quota” unless in special circumstances covered in FAQ 2.2|
|“Elderly subsidy headcount”||$4,000 x “elderly subsidy headcount”||“Elderly subsidy headcount” not exceeding the “elderly subsidy quota”|
|Total||“Chosen subsidised headcount”||Wage subsidy received each month||“Chosen subsidised headcount” not exceeding “subsidised quota cap” and not exceeding “sector-specific cap”|
Employers’ Undertaking and Penalty
Applicants shall undertake to employ sufficient number of employees in fulfilling the following criteria in each subsidy month, and reflect the respective employment situation in the records of the MPF Schemes/ORSO Schemes:
Please see paragraph 7.2 in the Terms & Conditions for details.
If applicants could not 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. Please refer to the calculation illustrations.
Applicants shall take the following actions to enable the government-appointed agent to conduct post-payment check on whether the above undertaking has been met or not –
|Employers participating in MPF Schemes||The government-appointed agent will, based on the total number of paid employees and “relevant income” recorded on their MPF certificates, ascertain whether all the wage subsidies received for that month during the subsidy period (i.e. May to July 2022) have been spent on paying wages to employees in the same month, and cross-check against the chosen “full subsidy headcount”, “half subsidy headcount” and “elderly subsidy headcount”, in determining whether applicants have complied with their undertakings.
If applicants hire new employees during the subsidy period, they are required to open MPF employee accounts for the relevant employees in that month, provide wage information for May, June and July 2022 to MPF trustees and make contributions on or before the MPF contribution day as announced by the MPF Schemes Authority to prove that wages have been paid to the relevant employees for the month.
If applicants have hired employees aged 65 or above or casual employees (including those whose wages are paid on a daily basis), they are also required to report on or before the MPF contribution day the monthly wage of employees aged 65 or above and casual employees, and to make MPF contributions for the casual employees.
Employers should take note that the above requirement for new employees, employees aged 65 or above, or casual employees are over and above those of the MPF regime. Employers’ compliance is necessary. Otherwise, the information of these employees will not be shown on the MPF records of the months concerned and cannot be used to fulfil the above undertaking.
|Employers who have set up ORSO Schemes||Applicants are required to fill in the actual wages paid to each subsidised employee and indicate those employees aged 65 or above in May, June and July 2022 respectively in the specified manner, and submit it to the Secretariat and/or the government-appointed agent on or before the set deadline. The Secretariat and/or the government-appointed agent will determine whether the applicants have breached the undertakings based on the information provided and the employees’ wages records submitted by the applicants for each of the months during the subsidy period (i.e. from May to July 2022).|
Subsidy for Self-employed Persons
Eligible SEPs will be granted a one-off subsidy of $8,000.
Means of Application and Information Required
Employers or self-employed persons who intend to apply should duly complete and submit the online application form and upload the necessary documents (regardless of whether an application for the 2020 ESS was made before). Only applications successfully submitted online will be processed. A confirmation email and SMS will be sent to the applicant to acknowledge receipt of his/her application.
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. If assistance is required concerning the application number, please refer to FAQ 3.12.
Please upload the required supporting documents by scanning or photographing a vertical shot. To expedite approval, scanned copies or photographs must clearly display the text. If uploading of more than one supporting document is involved, please submit it as a scanned file.
Applicants should verify the application information carefully. Once submitted, the application cannot be cancelled or modified.
Applicants should pay attention to SMS and emails (including the emails in the “spam folder”) related to the Scheme after their applications are submitted. If the information provided is incomplete, an SMS or email notification will be sent to applicants to request supplementary information on or before a specified date. Applications that fail to submit supplementary documents within the specified deadline will not be processed.
Subsidy Disbursement Arrangements
The government-appointed agent will notify applicants 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.
The employers’ wage subsidies will be paid in four tranches:
|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)|
The Government’s decision on whether an application is successful and on the amount of subsidy granted is final. Notwithstanding that an application has been approved, if the Government finds out that the applicant is involved in winding up, deregistration or striking off process or has become dormant, the Government has the right to refuse the disbursement of subsidies to the applicant and revoke the relevant approval of the application. The Government reserves the right to require the applicant to return all or any part of the subsidies in the event that the disbursement has already been made.
Audit and Monitoring Mechanism
The Government and government-appointed agent will conduct audits before or after subsidy disbursement to determine whether any terms and conditions have been violated.
The Government reserves the right to require an employer applicant to return the wage subsidies received (in full or in part) and pay a penalty within a specified period if the Secretariat, in its absolute discretion, considers that the employer has, during the subsidy period of the Scheme (i.e. from May to July 2022), engaged in conduct which directly or indirectly violates the objective of retaining employment under the Scheme, or is contrary to public interest.
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.
Furthermore, the Scheme will adopt a highly transparent approach to enable monitoring by members of the public and employees concerned. The Secretariat will publish the names of employers who have received wage subsidies under the Scheme, the amount of wage subsidies received, and their “chosen subsidised headcount”, “full subsidy headcount”, “half subsidy headcount” and “elderly subsidy headcount”.
Should an employer applicant be found to have abused or violated the conditions of the Scheme, the employees concerned or members of the public may report to the relevant authorities. The Secretariat and the government-appointed agent will earnestly follow up on all alleged reports and complaints, including conducting on-site checking as well as reassessing the eligibility of the concerned employers, authenticity of the information submitted, the amount of subsidies disbursed and the relevant MPF contribution records provided by MPF trustees. The Secretariat will set up a review panel to monitor the progress of cases being handled, as well as to oversee and review special cases.
For enquiries relating to provisions under the Employment Ordinance or conditions of employment pertaining to labour disputes, please contact the Labour Relations Division (LRD) of the Labour Department:
Applicants must provide true, complete and accurate information when making the applications. Otherwise, the applications may be rendered invalid, rejected and/or disqualified. Any applicant who makes any false statement or misrepresentation, withholds any information, or furnishes any false or misleading documents or information in an attempt to deceive the Government and/or its appointed agent for obtaining the 2022 ESS subsidies could be liable to criminal prosecution.
The Government has “zero tolerance” for unlawful cases. As a matter of fact, the Secretariat has referred a number of doubtful cases concerning the 2020 ESS to the Police for investigation. Late last year, the Police took arrest actions, involving two enterprises that forged the number of employees to deceive wage subsidies.
Remarks: The information above is for reference only and is not a comprehensive representation of all terms and requirements. All requirements under the Scheme are subject to the terms and conditions of the Scheme.