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First batch of wage subsidies under Employment Support Scheme disbursed today
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     The Government disbursed the first tranche of wage subsidies under the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) to a total of 49 500 employers and self-employed persons (SEPs) applicants starting today (June 12).  
 
     The ESS has received from May 25 up to 6pm today a total of around 160 000 applications from employers and 230 000 applications from SEPs.
 
     A Government spokesman said, "We have processed 25 500 applications submitted by employers. The ESS Secretariat (the Secretariat) has notified successful applicants of the results of their applications via SMS and email on June 10. Starting from today, we are arranging to deposit the wage subsidies into the applicants' assigned bank accounts. Ninety-eight per cent of the first batch of recipients receiving wage subsidies are micro or small and medium-sized enterprises with less than 50 employees. The wage subsidy, totalling $4.8 billion, will be a timely relief to help employers and employees get through hard times."  
 
     Employers who receive wage subsidies for the first tranche have undertaken not to make redundancies during the subsidy period (i.e. June to August) and to spend all the wage subsidies on paying wages to the employees.
      
     In addition, the first batch of 24 000 successful SEP applicants will each receive a one-off lump sum subsidy of $7,500 into their assigned bank accounts starting from today. The total sum of subsidy involved is about $180 million.  
 
     The spokesman said, "Thanks to the joint effort of the ESS processing agent, MPF trustees and relevant departments, we have managed to effect the disbursement one week ahead of our original target. All the remaining applications received will be processed expeditiously so as to disburse wage subsidies and one-off lump sum subsidies to more applicants promptly.  
      
     "We have noticed that the MPF information (including MPF scheme name, MPF scheme registration or participation number) submitted by some applicants is not consistent with the relevant records as maintained by the MPF Trustees. The ESS Secretariat or the processing agent will send emails to these relevant applicants to follow up. We would like to remind the relevant applicants to respond to the emails before the specified deadline, so that the ESS Secretariat or the processing agent can further process and approve the relevant applications."
 
     The spokesman also reminded that the application period for the first tranche of the ESS would be closed after midnight on June 14 (Sunday). Eligible employers and SEPs who wish to apply for wage subsidies should submit applications through the ESS online portal (www.ess.gov.hk) as soon as possible. The ESS online application portal will be closed after midnight on June 14."
      
     If the Hong Kong Observatory issues No. 8 or higher Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal on June 14, the three ESS Help Desks will suspend service. We will contact the applicants who have made appointments to assist them in submitting applications.
      
     For enquiries, please send email to [email protected] or call the ESS hotline (1836 122). The operation hours during the remaining application period are as follows:
   
June 13 (Saturday) 9am to 8pm
June 14 (Sunday) 9am to 11.59pm

     Applicants who need assistance in completing their online applications may call the ESS hotline to make appointments with the following three ESS Help Desks:
      
     • North Point Help Desk at Room 1701, A T Tower, 180 Electric Road, North Point;
     • Kwun Tong Help Desk at Room 2507, Prosperity Center, 25 Chong Yip Street, Kwun Tong; and
     • Tsuen Wan Help Desk at Room 1206, Chinachem Tsuen Wan Plaza, 455 Castle Peak Road - Tsuen Wan.
      
     The operating hours of the Help Desks during the remaining application period are as follows:
   
June 13 (Saturday) 9am to 8pm
June 14 (Sunday) 9am to 10pm
 
     The operation hours of the ESS hotline and the Help Desks will remain in service from Monday to Sunday (9am to 6pm) to answer enquiries beyond the application period.
 
Ends/Friday, June 12, 2020
Issued at HKT 21:54
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