160,000 employers in Hong Kong expected to seek wage subsidy
Head of the government’s Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office, Doris Ho, said tougher penalties are now in place to ensure the money goes to workers and that companies maintain or increase headcount.
As for concerns that the scheme came too late to help firms that had already shut down, she said, “We cannot help all companies with one single scheme. I think the main objective of the 2022 ESS is to provide wage subsidies to employers to retain jobs or even increase employment when the epidemic situation permits.”
She added that there could be further government measures “to stimulate consumption demand and inject vitality into our economy” following the fifth wave of COVID-19.
Under the ESS scheme, companies can claim up to HK$8,000 (US$1,119) per month to help pay the salaries of each eligible worker from May to July.
Applications open on Friday and successful companies can expect to receive the money from early May. This will be the second round of ESS with the first launched in 2020 to help businesses affected by the pandemic, according to RTHK.