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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Eligibility and Criteria

Employment income refers to all the incomes (including any wages, allowances, commissions and bonuses but excluding (i) non-pecuniary benefits, and (ii) severance payments and long service payments under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57)) earned by applicants through employment (including working full-time or part-time, and/or working as a self-employed person) before losing their jobs.

Yes. The Scheme offers assistance to those who have lost their jobs since the outbreak of the fifth wave of the epidemic. They can apply as long as they meet the eligibility criteria, irrespective of whether they worked full-time or part-time before.

Yes. Applicants with an MPF “Self-employed Person” account (“MPF SEP account”) should note that self-employed persons with their MPF accounts set up since 8 February 2022 (i.e. the day following the announcement of the launch of the Scheme by the Government) cannot apply using MPF account information. They have to separately provide adequate information and documents of proof (for details, please see the landing page of this website).

Applicants (including full-time or part-time employees) working in scheduled premises that have been ordered to suspend operation or catering premises whose operations have been restricted, and have been asked by their employers not to work for at least 30 days (i.e. it has been at least 30 days since they last worked at the time of application) may also apply.

Such scheduled premises include amusement game centres, bathhouses, fitness centres, places of amusement, places of public entertainment, party rooms, beauty parlours, clubs or night clubs, karaoke establishments, Mahjong-tin kau premises, massage establishments, sports premises or swimming pools regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) whose operation has to be suspended for the time being and relevant catering premises include bars, pubs or restaurants.

Each applicant should submit one application only. The Government appointed agent will ask the MPF trustees to provide information on all MPF accounts under the name of the applicant for vetting.

The Government appointed agent will ask the MPF trustee(s) to provide information on all MPF accounts under the name of the applicant for the period between October and December 2021 for calculating the employment income before losing his/her jobs. Meanwhile, income generated from other jobs for which no MPF account was set up will also be included.

Income calculation method under the Scheme.

All employment incomes (including wages, allowances, commissions and bonuses) earned by the applicant for the period between October and December 2021 before losing his/her employment will be included in the calculation. If the applicant has had more than one job before losing his/her employment, irrespective of whether he/she has set up MPF and/or Occupational Retirement Scheme Ordinance (“ORSO”) schemes accounts for the jobs, incomes generated from all of the jobs will be included for calculation and assessment under one single application.

Income calculation method under the Scheme.

Yes. The Government appointed agent will ask the MPF trustees to provide information on all MPF accounts under the name of the applicant for vetting.

Generally speaking, for applicants not making MPF contributions on a monthly basis, their incomes will be apportioned according to the number of days in the relevant contribution period.

Income calculation method under the Scheme.

Yes. However, it should be noted that as the MPF contributions of the applicants do not effectively reflect their employment incomes, the applicants should choose “with employment income not recorded under any MPF schemes and ORSO schemes” to fill in such income information in the online application form as instructed and provide relevant proof.

Yes. For applicants aged 65 or above, if their employers have made voluntary MPF contributions for them with respect to their employment and made declaration to the MPF trustees, the applications for the Scheme will be processed based on the employment income information provided by the MPF trustees.

Otherwise, the applicants should choose “with employment income not recorded under any MPF schemes and ORSO schemes” to fill in such income information in the online application form as instructed and provide relevant proof.

Yes. Persons holding a valid Hong Kong Identity Card (including new arrivals) and have been ordinarily resident in Hong Kong throughout the period from 1 October 2021 to the date of application are eligible to apply.

A valid Hong Kong Identity Card refers to a smart Hong Kong Identity Card issued on or after 23 June 2003. For details on the Hong Kong Identity Card, please visit the Immigration Department’s website (www.immd.gov.hk) or call its enquiry hotline at 2824 6111.

Any person who is aged 18 or above on or before 1 October 2021 and holds a valid Hong Kong Identity Card, whether it is an adult or juvenile identity card, will meet the eligibility criteria with respect to proof of identity.

Losing the Hong Kong Identity Card does not affect an applicant’s eligibility under the Scheme.

Scenario Questions

The following scenarios are for reference only. The Government and its appointed agent will vet individual applications according to their actual circumstances. The Government has the final decision on all matters relating to the Scheme.

Yes. However, the total monthly employment income of the applicant for the period between October and December 2021 should be generally between $2,700 and $30,000. The employment income includes any wages, allowances, commissions and bonuses.

Applicants with more than one job must lose all of their jobs before they could submit an application 30 days after leaving the last job.

Applicants (including full-time or part-time employees) working in scheduled premises that have been ordered to suspend operation or in catering premises whose operations have been restricted, and have been asked by their employers not to work for at least 30 days (i.e. it has been at least 30 days since they last worked at the time of application) may also apply.

Such scheduled premises include amusement game centres, bathhouses, fitness centres, places of amusement, places of public entertainment, party rooms, beauty parlours, clubs or night clubs, karaoke establishments, Mahjong-tin kau premises, massage establishments, sports premises or swimming pools regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) ) whose operation has to be suspended for the time being and relevant catering premises include bars, pubs or restaurants.

Applicants who have worked for at least a month and the employment income for that month was between $2,700 and $30,000 for the period between October and December 2021 and it has been at least 30 days since they last worked at the time of application can apply. Family expenses will not be included for calculating the employment income under the Scheme.

As required by the Scheme, applicants should have been ordinarily resident in Hong Kong throughout the period from 1 October 2021 to the date of submission of the application. Residing at places outside Hong Kong and no longer have habitual residence in Hong Kong do not meet the requirement of having ordinary residence in Hong Kong. For details, please refer to the website of the Immigration Department (https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/roa/term.html).

Yes, but applicants have to provide relevant supporting documents including documents of proof of unemployment.

As the applicant still has a job, he/she does not meet the requirement of not being employed for at least 30 consecutive days immediately preceding and including the date of submitting an application and is therefore not eligible to apply.

We understand that most employees are suffering from a loss in income under the epidemic. Seeing that, the threshold on the number of working hours for entitlement to Working Family Allowances (https://www.wfsfaa.gov.hk/wfao/en/index.htm) has thus been lowered, enabling employees to receive the allowances even with a reduction in working hours.

These applicants have to make relevant declaration appropriately in the application form to prove that it has been at least 30 days since they last worked at the time of application and submit relevant documents of proof as required in the application form. The applicants may then apply provided that they have met the other requirements of the Scheme.

Yes. Applicants working in scheduled premises that have been ordered to suspend operation for the time being or in catering premises whose operations have been significantly restricted under the tightening of social distancing measures, and were asked by their employers to suspend from work for at least 30 days (i.e. it has been at least 30 days since they last worked at the time of application) are still eligible to apply even they have not been laid off.

The application should be made by the applicant in his/her personal capacity and not on a household basis. Also, the Scheme aims to target limited resources towards helping the most needy (i.e. lower-to-middle income earners), the monthly employment income threshold of beneficiaries is set at the level of $30,000.

Foreign domestic workers do not fulfill the requirement of ordinary residence in Hong Kong and are therefore not eligible to apply. For details, please refer to the website of the Immigration Department (https://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/roa/term.html).

Applicants should be working as employees or self-employed persons in Hong Kong for the period between October and December 2021. Hence, the case in question does not meet this requirement.

As the applicant was still employed, he/she is not eligible to apply.

No. The Government encourages applicants to try their best to find suitable jobs and return to employment as early as possible.

If the applicant operated the online shop as a self-employed person before losing his/her employment, the sales records for the period between October and December 2021 can be used as proof of employment income.

As the applicant is not unemployed at the time of making an application, so he/she is not eligible to apply.

The Scheme aims to provide relief to the short-term unemployed. In general, applicants should remain unemployed for 30 days (including the date of application) from the date of application.

We understand that many people have been leading a very hard life since the outbreak of the fifth wave of the epidemic, and that some applicants will be engaged in some non-regular jobs to earn meagre income to support their living. We encourage persons who have been unemployed for 30 days or more to submit an application. If they have meagre income, they are advised to declare the income truthfully. We will handle the applications on a discretionary and lenient basis as far as practicable, taking into account the specific circumstances of the applicants.

Applicants who have been CSSA recipients at the time of application are not eligible to apply.

Applicants who are CSSA recipients at the time of submitting the application are not eligible to apply. For CSSA applicants who have not received the vetting results on the date of submitting an application for the Temporary Unemployment Relief Scheme, they may first submit an application for the Scheme. We will liaise with the Social Welfare Department. If necessary, applicants may also make an enquiry to the Department about the vetting status of their CSSA applications first.

Applicants for the Scheme should not be benefited at the same time under relevant measures of the sixth-round AEF and they have to make relevant declaration in this regard when submitting their applications. We believe that this is a reasonable and fair arrangement. It avoids enjoying double benefits by some applicants and allows the limited resources under the Scheme to be used to provide timely assistance to the most needy ones who are not benefited from other measures.

For details, please see the Terms and Conditions clause 2.5.

The target beneficiaries of the Scheme are workers who have been rendered temporarily unemployed since the outbreak of the fifth wave of epidemic in end December 2021. For those who have been unemployed for a prolonged period of time, they should seek other forms of assistance and contact the Social Welfare Department or the Labour Department as necessary.

2. Application Procedures

To expedite the processing of applications, only online application is accepted under the Scheme. In case applicants need assistance, they may:

Only basic personal information such as Hong Kong Identity Card Number and contact number would be collected from these applicants. Applicants are not required to provide any proof with respect to employment enrolled under MPF schemes. The Government appointed agent will, with the use of the applicants’ Hong Kong identity card numbers, obtain from the MPF trustees information on the employment income of all MPF accounts of the applicants and other information.

Applicants without MPF accounts should choose “with employment income not recorded under any MPF schemes and ORSO schemes” in completing the application form to fill in such income information as instructed and provide relevant proof. Such applications will be referred to the non-governmental organisations appointed by the Government under the Scheme for vetting and processing.

If applicants cannot provide any proof on unemployment or salary payment, they may make a personal declaration on their employment or unemployment status when completing the application form. Where necessary, the Government appointed agent will enquire with the applicants and request the applicants to provide further information for vetting the applications.

Applicants may contact the Labour Relations Division of the LD for enquiries relating to provisions under the Employment Ordinance or conditions of employment through the following means:

Email: enquiry@labour.gov.hk
Enquiry hotline: 2717 1771(provided by 1823)
Details of offices of Labour Relations Division: https://www.labour.gov.hk/tc/tele/lr1.htm

Upon completion of the online application, the applicant will receive a computer-generated application number via SMS messages or emails (if an email address is provided by the applicants) to acknowledge the receipt of application by the Government.

For self-employed persons with MPF accounts, their MPF information (including information on working as self-employed persons) will be provided by their MPF trustees. For self-employed persons without MPF accounts or have only set up their MPF accounts on or after 8 February 2022, they should choose “with employment income not recorded under any MPF schemes and ORSO schemes” in completing the application form to fill in such income information as instructed and provide relevant proof.

If the information submitted is found to be incomplete, the applicant will be notified via SMS messages or emails (if an email address is provided by the applicant) and asked to provide supplementary information according to the instructions in the message before a specified date. The application will not be processed if the applicant fails to provide supplementary information within the specified period.

If necessary, they may use the free telephone interpretation service provided by the Centre for Harmony and Enhancement of Ethnic Minority Residents. For details, please see this link.

Please upload the required supporting documents by scanning or taking the front vertical shot of such documents. To speed up the processing of the application, the scanned files or photos must clearly display the text content.

Applicants may upload supporting documents in photos. Supporting documents should be submitted in scanned copies as far as possible if more than one page of document is to be uploaded. The maximum file size supported by the system is 10MB and the format must be JPG or PDF.

Upon completion of the online application, the applicant will receive a computer-generated application number via SMS messages and emails (if an email address is provided by the applicants) to acknowledge the receipt of application by the Government. He/she must fill out the online application form again if the browser or application webpage is closed while queuing or before submission.

Applicants should carefully verify the information when submitting an application. Once the online application is submitted, no amendments will be allowed.

Applicants will have 60 minutes to fill out the form and submit the application.

It is expected that most eligible applicants will receive the subsidy in three to four weeks after submission of application. Applicants should ensure that the information they submit meet all requirements under the Scheme to facilitate early completion of the vetting process and disbursement of the subsidy.

Applications involving employment enrolled under the ORSO or other non-MPF accounts may require longer processing time.

The target is to disburse the subsidy to the first batch of successful applicants within April 2022.

The online application period for the Scheme will last for three weeks from 23 March (8 am) to 12 April (11:59 pm). The system for online application will cease to operate from 13 April. Those interested to apply should submit their online applications as early as possible.

3. Legal Liabilities and Other Questions

Applicants should confirm and make the declaration when submitting the online application form. Applicants also have to take note of the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme.

As one of the Terms and Conditions, applicants must provide true, complete and accurate information when making the applications. Otherwise, the relevant applications may be rendered invalid, rejected and/or disqualified. Any act of making a false statement, misinterpreting or concealing the facts, or providing false or misleading documents or information is a criminal offence.

If the applicant breaches the declaration, the Government has the right to claw back any disbursed subsidies direct from the applicant’s account for receipt of the subsidies under the Scheme. If any violation is suspected, the Government or its appointed agent will refer the case to law enforcement agencies for follow-up.

In the process of vetting, the Government appointed agent will verify the information submitted by the applicants and if necessary, require the applicants to provide original copy of such relevant information as income records/notice of employee termination. The Government appointed agent will also review the applications by sample checking after the disbursement of subsidies to prevent abuse.

To prevent applicants from obtaining subsidies with the provision of false or incomplete information, the original copies of the documents submitted by the applicants should be retained for two years for reviewing purposes.

The Government and the Government appointed agent will conduct sample checking (including requiring the applicants to provide the original copies of the relevant wage documents and/or notice of employee termination for verification) after disbursement of subsidies and notify the applicants about the situation. The Government will claw back the disbursed subsidies if necessary. In completing the application forms, applicants must authorise the Government to claw back money from their default accounts for receipt of subsidy.

The subsidy under the Scheme will be disbursed directly to the applicants’ bank accounts by autopay. For applicants who had successfully registered and received $10,000 under the 2020 Cash Payout Scheme (CPS), the subsidy under the Scheme will be deposited into the same bank account specified for receipt of CPS payment.

If applicants did not register for the CPS or their bank accounts specified for receipt of CPS payment are no longer valid, they have to provide copies of their Hong Kong Identity Card, their bank account numbers for receipt of subsidy and supporting information (such as copies of monthly bank statements, bank books or ATM cards showing the names of account holders and the account numbers) when submitting the applications online.

Upon successful submission of the application, applicants may check their application status and results online at the website of the Scheme (enquiry.tur.gov.hk). After vetting of the applications has been completed, the applicants will be notified via SMS messages or emails (if email addresses are provided by the applicants) that they may check their application results at the website.

If the applicants have not received the subsidies 14 working days after receiving a notification that their applications are successful, they may call 1836-128 to contact the Government appointed agent for follow-up. Besides, the applicants may send emails to enquiry@tur.gov.hk for enquiries.

Applicants should have a valid savings account or current account in Hong Kong dollars with a local bank under the names of the applicants in their personal capacity for receipt of subsidies.

If applicants have problems in opening bank accounts timely within the application period, they may call the hotline at 1836-128 during the application period.

No. With a view to protecting the rights of the applicant and ensuring that the subsidy will be disbursed to the applicant timely and accurately, the subsidy will only be disbursed and deposited into a valid savings account or current account in Hong Kong dollars with a local bank under the name of the applicant in his/her personal capacity.

Applicant will be required in the application form to provide supporting documents such as salary statements and relevant documents issued by employers. If the required documents of income proof could not be provided, applicants may submit other supporting documents of employment and make a personal representation in the application form.

When processing applications, the Government appointed agent will verify the income information other than the MPF account records with these information and if necessary, require the applicants to provide original copy of the information for verification. The Government appointed agent will also review the applications by sample checking after the disbursement of subsidies in order to prevent abuse.

Under the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112), only income or profits derived from an office or employment or from carrying on a business or letting of premises are subject to tax. The subsidies disbursed under the Temporary Unemployment Relief are not income or profit as defined above, and are therefore not subject to tax.

Enquiries about whether the subsidies received under the Scheme will be counted as the recipients’ incomes or assets under other government assistance schemes should be made to the departments concerned.

Bankrupts may apply as long as they meet the eligibility criteria under the Scheme.

Under the Bankruptcy Ordinance, an undischarged bankrupt shall report on a regular basis to his/her trustee details of any property he/she acquired during the bankruptcy period, and the trustee may by notice in writing claim for that property.

For bankruptcy cases in which the Official Receiver (OR) acts as the trustee, an undischarged bankrupt shall notify the OR in respect of the subsidy he/she has received under the Scheme for the OR to decide whether to make a claim or not. For enquiries, a bankrupt should contact the responsible case officer of the ORO direct by the following means:

  1. (a) click on “Contact Us” at the ORO website and conduct search with the search function of “Contact Responsible Case Officers”; or
  2. (b) calling the ORO hotline at 2867 2448.

For other cases where the OR is not the trustee, it is up to individual trustees to decide how to deal with the subsidy disbursed. An undischarged bankrupt should contact his/her trustee direct.

For self-employed persons locally confirmed with COVID-19 and are eligible for the Department’s ex-gratia cash allowance, they may make an application to the Department. If they are later rendered unemployed because of the fifth wave of the epidemic, they may also make an application for the Temporary Unemployment Relief to the Government if they meet the eligibility criteria of the Scheme.

Beneficiaries of the Unemployment Loan Scheme have to repay their loans, which is different from the nature of the voluntary relief provided under the Scheme. Applicants may apply provided that they have met the eligibility criteria under the Scheme.

Calculation Criteria:

In general, the Scheme requires that the monthly employment income of applicants for the paid months during the fourth quarter of 2021 (i.e. 1 October 2021 to 31 December 2021) must be between $2,700 and $30,000. In addition, the Scheme also requires that the monthly employment income of applicants must be $2,700 or above for at least one of the months for the period between October and December 2021. Applicants can refer to the following examples of calculation of income for the fourth quarter of 2021, including different scenarios with respect to year-end bonuses, dismissal in a particular month, etc.

  1. For applicants with an MPF account, the “Relevant Income” for the period between October 2021 and December 2021 will be used for calculation of employment income:

    Example (1):

    All incomes of an applicant are recorded in his/her MPF account
    Employment income in October 2021 : $10,000
    Employment income in November 2021 : $9,000
    Employment income in December 2021 : $8,000

    In the above example, the monthly employment incomes of the applicant for the period between October and December was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

    Example (2):

    All incomes of an applicant are recorded in his/her MPF account
    Employment income in October 2021 :$22,000
    Employment income in November 2021 :$22,000
    Employment income in December 2021 :$36,000

    In the above example, the employment income of the applicant in December was more than $30,000. That said, considering that there may be various reasons to explain why the employment income of the applicant for a particular month is more than $30,000 (e.g. year-end bonuses), discretion will be exercised by using the average monthly income as the basis for calculation.

    Total income in the fourth quarter of 2021: $22,000 + $22,000 + $36,000
    = $80,000
    Total number of paid months in the fourth quarter of 2021: 3

    Average monthly employment income in the fourth quarter of 2021:
    $80,000/3
    = $26,667

    The average monthly employment income of the applicant in the fourth quarter of 2021 was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

    Example (3):

    All incomes of an applicant are recorded in his/her MPF account
    Employment income in October 2021 : $3,200
    Employment income in November 2021 : $3,200
    Employment income in December 2021 : $1,500

    In the above example, the employment income of the applicant was less than $2,700 in December. That said, taking into account that there may be various reasons to explain why the employment income of the applicant for a particular month is less than $2,700 (e.g. being laid off in that month), discretion will be exercised by excluding the record for December and using the average monthly income as the basis for calculation:

    Total income in the fourth quarter of 2021 (excluding December): $3,200 + $3,200
    = $6,400
    Total number of paid months in the fourth quarter of 2021 (excluding December): 2

    Average income in the fourth quarter of 2021:
    $6,400/2
    = $3,200

    The average monthly employment income of the applicant in the fourth quarter of 2021 was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

  2. For applicants with employment incomes from different MPF schemes or Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance (ORSO) schemes at the same time, the employment income in the fourth quarter will be calculated by adding up (i) incomes under MPF schemes and (ii) incomes under ORSO schemes.

    Example (4):

    An applicant has employment income from multiple sources at the same time:
    October and November 2021: employment income declared under ORSO schemes
    October and December 2021: employment income declared under MPF schemes
    December 2021: other employment income (i.e. employment income not declared under MPF or ORSO schemes)

    (a) Total employment income under ORSO schemes:
    Employment income for October 2021 : $20,000
    Employment income for November 2021 : $19,000

    (b) Total employment income under MPF schemes:
    Employment income for October 2021 : $5,000
    Employment income for December 2021 : $15,000

    (c) Other employment income:
    Employment income for December 2021: $5,000

    The total employment income of the applicant in the fourth quarter:
    Employment income in October 2021 : $25,000
    Employment income in November 2021 : $19,000
    Employment income in December 2021 : $20,000

    In the above example, the average monthly total employment income of the applicant for the period between October and December was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

  3. For applicants with an MPF account, given different contribution patterns, the employment income of the applicant in the fourth quarter will be calculated as follows:

    Example (5a):

    Monthly contributions
    “Relevant Income” of the applicant $10,000
    Contribution period start date 1 October 2021
    Contribution period end date 31 October 2021

    In the above example, the employment income of the applicant in October 2021 was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

    For applicants making contributions more than once every month (e.g. weekly or bi-weekly contributions), in accordance with the “Relevant Income” as shown in the MPF contribution record of the applicant for the fourth quarter in 2021, an average income will be calculated according to the proportion of days.

    Example (5b):

    Weekly contributions

    Information recorded in the MPF scheme(s) 1st contribution 2nd contribution 3rd contribution 4th contribution 5th contribution
    Applicant’s “Relevant Income” $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
    Contribution period start date 26 Sep 4 Oct 11 Oct 18 Oct 25 Oct
    Contribution period end date 3 Oct 10 Oct 17 Oct 24 Oct 31 Oct
    Number of days falling within Oct 2021 3 7 7 7 7

    Employment income in October 2021:
    ($2,500 x 3/7) + $2,500 + $2,500 + $2,500 + $2,500= $11,071

    Note: The above example shows that the contribution period of the applicant covers days beyond the particular month of making the contribution (i.e. 26 September to 30 September). As such, it is necessary to prorate the “Relevant Income” based on the number of days falling within that month.

    In the above example, the employment income of the applicant in October was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

    For applicants making contributions less than once every quarter (e.g. annually), in accordance with the “Relevant Income” as shown in the MPF contribution record of the applicant for the fourth quarter in 2021, the monthly employment income will be calculated according to the proportion of days/months.

    Example (5c):

    Annual contributions
    “Relevant Income” $120,000
    Contribution period start date 16 March 2021
    Contribution period end date 15 March 2022

    Employment income in October 2021 : $120,000 x 1/12 = $10,000
    Employment income in November 2021: $120,000 x 1/12 = $10,000
    Employment income in December 2021: $120,000 x 1/12 = $10,000

    Note: The above example shows that the contribution period covers 12 months (16 March 2021 to 15 March 2022). As such, the income of the fourth quarter is apportioned according to the number of months.

    In the above example, upon calculation, the monthly employment income of the applicant for the period between October and December was between $2,700 and $30,000. The applicant meets the requirement of the Scheme in respect of the monthly employment income before losing his/her job.

    If the above examples do not cover your situation, please feel free to contact us by sending an email to enquiry@tur.gov.hk or call us at 1836-128.