The Legislative Council Finance Committee approved funding on 18 April 2020 to launch the HK$81 billion Employment Support Scheme (ESS) as soon as possible.
In a Government news article and a press release both dated 20 April 2020, the Government has clarified the following:
1. after approval of the ESS application, the number of employees on payroll shall not be less than the number of employees in March 2020;
2. the wage subsidies applied by employers must be used fully for employees' wages; and
3. 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.
Please click here for our previous update on the ESS and Catering Sector One-Off Subsidy.
In advance of the Finance Committee meeting, a Discussion Paper FCR (2020-21)2 was published on 17 April 2020 (https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/fund/FCR(2020-21)2e.pdf or https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr19-20/english/fc/fc/papers/f20-02e.pdf).
Enclosure D1 contains some further details on the ESS. We capture below the elements of the ESS contained in Enclosure D1 that have not yet been officially confirmed by the Government:
Although the Finance Committee has approved the budget for the ESS, the detailed application, payment mechanisms and implementation details are still being worked out by the Government in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, including MPF trustees. These will be announced before application for the first tranche of ESS payment is invited.