Employment Support Scheme (ESS)

12 May 2020

Affected by the new coronavirus epidemic, the economy suffered a setback. The Government has recently provided Anti-epidemic Fund measures, in which the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) will provide employers with half of the salary subsidy.


Application and release date

The application for the first tranche of the ESS is scheduled to open on 25 May 2020 until 14 June 2020 and is expected to receive June-August salary subsidies from 3 to 4 weeks after the application is submitted.



Excluding specified non-eligible organisations, all employers who have made Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) contributions or set up Occupational Retirement Schemes (ORSO) are eligible to apply for the first tranche of the ESS. The relevant accounts should be set up on or before March 31, 2020.


Subsidy calculation per month

Self-employed persons (SEP)

•   Any SEP who has opened an account on or before March 31, 2020 and the account has not been cancelled will be granted a one-off subsidy of HKD $7,500 on application.


Non-Self-employed persons

•   Employers can choose one of the months as the "specified month" from December 2019 to March 2020, and use that actual wage of that specified month as the basis for calculation.

•   Calculated based on 50% of the actual wage paid to employees in the "specified month"

•   The wage is capped at HKD $18,000 per month (i.e. the maximum subsidy is HKD $9,000 per employee per month)



During June, July and August 2020:

•   The number of paid employees (the actual paid employees) must not be less than the number of employees in March 2020 (whether paid or not)

•   All ESS received should be paid to employees.

•   If there is a violation of undertakings, the government will claw back the unused amount with a surcharge.


Details of the application process for the first tranche and the penalties, please refer to the official website https://www.ess.gov.hk/en/


Stay with us on our company website and Facebook for further updates on the ESS.

For more information and enquiries about ESS, please do not hesitate to call us on (852) 2199 7656.