Are you an employer in Hong Kong? Apply for the ESS wage subsidy before the 14 June deadline

On 8 April the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced the Employment Support Scheme (“ESS”) to help employers retain employees and avoid redundancies. ESS is a time-limited governmental wage subsidy qualifying companies in Hong Kong with a monthly cap of 9,000 HKD per employee. ESS payment is made in two tranches, the first tranche covers from June – August 2020, second tranche from September – November 2020.    

To qualify for ESS, employers must have enrolled their employees to receive Mandatory Provident Fund contributions or Occupational Retirement Schemes before the 31 March 2020. The ESS is calculated as 50% of the actual wages paid within a specific month with a wage cap of 18,000 HKD per month. Companies may determine any month between December 2019 – March 2020 as the specific month. Applications for ESS shall be made no later than 14 June, while payment will be made in June for the first tranche and September for the second tranche.

How ESS works

We offer a basic example of how you can benefit from ESS. Let’s say your company has chosen December 2019 as its “specified month” in applying for ESS and during that month you had 30 employees whose combines salaries amounted to HKD450,000, then their ESS calculation would stand as follows:

Number of employees

Number of employees Monthly wage per employee ESS per employee
10 HKD 20,000 HKD 9,000
10 HKD 10,000 HKD 5,000
10 HKD 15,000 HKD 7,500

Amount of ESS

Total ESS per month HKD 215,000
First tranche of ESS (3months) HKD 645,000
Total ESS (first and second tranche) HKD 1,290,000

What Horizons can do for your HKSAR company in taking advantage of ESS

From 25 May 2020, Horizons, in cooperation with our Hong Kong office, has successfully assisted in 300 ESS applications. In fact, for one-time consultancy fee of 500 HKD, the Horizons Group can quickly assess if your company qualifies for the ESS and estimate the total amount of ESS you will receive. From there, if you choose, our Hong Kong office will apply for ESS on behalf of your company, saving you precious time to focus on business. What’s more, we offer a crisis solutions programme will effectively navigate your company through the residual effects of COVID-19 and on to full recovery.

To receive additional information on these items and more in-depth approaches to corporate solutions, please contact one of our crisis management leads below by calling or emailing them directly.

APAC Region
Ms LI Hua Jing
Mobile: +86 13166299232

Ms Lucia NETTI
Landline: +39 011 19711641 Mobile: +39 391 1283498

If you have questions or concerns related to Employment Support Scheme (“ESS”) or other related corporate matters, please contact Horizons at +86 21 5356 3400 or

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