HK$30,000 Salary Cap Lifted for 2022 Employment Support Scheme (ESS)

Enhanced Wage Subsidy Scheme to Battle Fifth Wave

After suffering its worse outbreak since the pandemic began, Hong Kong’s Government is planning a new round of the Employment Support Scheme (ESS). First launched in 2022 in two tranches, the Government hope to replicate its initial success which benefited over 1 million employees by supporting employers with wage subsidies.

Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 ESS:

Key Announcements and What to Know About the 2022 ESS

There are several key areas of note in the 2022 ESS as announced by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive:

1. Monthly HK$30,000 Salary Cap Removed

Originally, full-time employees earning more than HK$30,000 will be ineligible, but this cap has now been lifted.

2. Employers Can Use Headcount During Q4 in 2021

Employers can choose to use the ESS data in 2020 or the number of staff employed in Q4 of 2021 as the cap on the number of eligible employees.

3. More Industries Included

Certain industries that were originally excluded as they were not considered hard hit by the latest outbreak like supermarkets, pharmacies and delivery firms, have now been included, but at a cap of 100 employees.

4. Covering Part-Time, Freelance, and Self-Employed

Employers can apply for part-time and freelance staff earning HK$3,000 to HK$8,000 monthly, but the subsidy amount will be halved to HK$4,000. Self-employed individuals and employees aged 65 and over can also benefit from the scheme, providing they have an MPF account.

  • Subsidy Amount: Each company will receive a fixed amount of HK$8,000 per month over a period of three months for each eligible full-time employee.

  • Subsidy Period: May 2022 to July 2022.

  • Cap on Number of Employees to Benefit from Subsidy: The number of employees eligible for the subsidy per company will be capped at 1,000.

  • Application: The Government are targeting to open applications in late April 2022 (The exact date to be announced later).

After these key announcements, the HK Government expects 1.74 million employees to benefit from the scheme which will cost HK$43 billion.

*Please use this as a general guide, the scheme is subject to change. Please contact us for more information and subscribe to our blog to keep up to date with the latest developments across Asia!

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