The Government announced on 8 April 2020 the second round of Anti-epidemic Fund measures which included an HK$80 billion Employment Support Scheme ("ESS") to help employers retain employees and avoid redundancies. Details of the ESS are as follows:
- Eligibility: The Government will provide a wage subsidy to eligible employers to retain employees and avoid redundancy. All employers who have been making MPF contributions for employees (except for Government employees and employees of statutory bodies and subvented organisations) are eligible. An eligible employer will have to undertake that they cannot implement redundancy. The precise terms of the undertaking are not yet known and the devil will be in the details.
- Amount: The amount of the subsidy will be based on 50% of the monthly wages of the employee capped at HK$18,000, meaning a maximum subsidy of HK$9,000 per month.
- Duration: 6 months.
- Form of payment of the subsidy: The subsidy will be paid to eligible employers in 2 payments, with the first being not later than June 2020.
The Government will also grant a one-off subsidy to self-employed persons who made contributions to the MPF.
Details of how to apply for the subsidy are not yet available, and the terms of the undertaking to be given by participating employers will clearly be very important.
More details of the Government announcement can be found here: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/fund/20200408_supplementary_information_en.pdf