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Employers' Frequently Asked Questions

Employment Programme for the Elderly and Middle-aged

Employers' Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the eligibility criteria of employers applying for the on-the-job training (OJT) allowance?

  2. Are there any prescribed industries and occupations under EPEM?

    Employers who engage elderly or middle-aged job seekers aged 40 or above with an unemployment period of not less than 1 month within 1 year prior to the commencement date of employment to fill full-time or part-time (i.e. working 18 hours to less than 30 hours per week) permanent posts through the Labour Department, irrespective of their industries and occupations, are welcome to join EPEM. Employers are also required to meet certain requirements under EPEM. For details, please refer to the section of 'Employers: Guides on Applying for On-the-job Training Allowance'.

  3. How to set the wage level if employers want to join EPEM?

    The wage rate offered to the employees must comply with the Minimum Wage Ordinance and at par with the market level.

  4. What is the amount of OJT allowance offered to employers?

    Under EPEM, employers may apply for OJT allowance of up to $3,000 per month (for employee aged 40 to below 60) or up to $4,000 per month (for employee aged 60 or above). In general, OJT lasts for 3 months for employee aged 40 to below 60; or 6 months for employee aged 60 or above. Subject to the approval of the Labour Department, the training period will be extended to a maximum of 6 months (aged 40 to below 60) and 12 months (aged 60 or above) for deserving cases in which employers have to provide detailed information for vetting.

    The amount of OJT allowance is tabulated below:

    Type of post Age of Employee^ Amount of OJT allowance*
    (per month per employee)
    Monthly salary of the post* is below $6,000 Monthly salary of the post* is $6,000 or above
    Full-time post Aged 40 to below 60 $2,000 $3,000
    60 or above 50% of the employee's salary of the month*, with the maximum amount up to $4,000
    Part-time post# Aged 40 to below 60 25% of the employee's salary of the month*, with the maximum amount up to $3,000
    60 or above 50% of the employee's salary of the month*, with the maximum amount up to $4,000

    ^ Age of employee at the commencement of employment.

    * Under EPEM, when computing the salary of the job, any items which is of a gratuitous nature, or is payable only at the discretion of the employer, or is conditional in nature (e.g. good attendance allowance, good performance bonus, commission, end of year payment, etc.), irrespective of how it is designated or calculated, should be excluded.

    # Working 18 hours to less than 30 hours per week will be defined as part-time post.

  5. How can employers enroll in EPEM?

    • Employers should complete the 'Vacancy Order Form' for registering their full-time or part-time permanent vacancies with the Labour Department and indicate they welcome applications from eligible job seekers of EPEM. Job seekers obtain relevant vacancy information through the Labour Department, and then depending on the job application method selected by the employers, job seekers may apply for the posts through referrals of the Labour Department or directly to the employers.
    • When employers employ or prepare to employ job seekers who are eligible for EPEM, they have to submit a completed 'Preliminary Application Form', together with supporting documents on the salary and hours of work of the job (such as a signed employment contract), within (i) 3 months from the date when the job vacancy is posted at Labour Department, and (ii) first month after the commencement of employment of the job seekers. If the job seekers concerned have not yet registered at the Labour Department, employers should arrange them to register at any Job Centres as soon as possible.
    • After verification, Labour Department will notify successful employers by issuing a 'Letter of Approval-in-Principle'. Upon the receipt of the letter, employers shall commence the OJT according to the date specified.
  6. How many applications can each employer submit?

    Each company/organization can submit a maximum of 80 'Assessment-cum-Claim Forms' under EPEM for each year, i.e. 29 June to 28 June of next year.

  7. Why the registration quota being set as 80 submissions?

    This aims for maintaining the quality of EPEM and better use of resources.

  8. Why each mentor cannot coach more than 10 employees at the same time?

    This aims for maintaining the quality of EPEM and providing an effective OJT for the employees.

  9. How to identity eligible job seekers under EPEM?

    All elderly or middle-aged job seekers aged 40 or above and have an unemployment period of not less than 1 month within 1 year prior to the commencement date of employment are eligible for EPEM. When employers employ or prepare to employ job seekers who are eligible for EPEM but have not yet registered with the Labour Department, they should arrange the job seekers to register at any Job Centres as soon as possible.

  10. Can employers employ eligible job seekers by other means of recruitment and then register the vacancy to the Labour Department retrospectively and apply for on-the-job training allowance?

    No. To be qualified for OJT allowance under EPEM, employers have to register the job vacancies with the Labour Department first. Job seekers obtain relevant job vacancy information through the Labour Department, and depending on the job application method selected by the employers, job seekers may apply for the posts through referrals of the Labour Department or directly to the employers. Employers then select and employ eligible job seekers. For application procedures, please refer to the section of 'Employers: Guides on Applying for On-the-job Training Allowance'

  11. What will employers benefit from EPEM?

    The OJT allowance provided by EPEM can enrich the training resources of employers. Employers can also take the opportunity to formulate systematic and tailor-made training plans for the new recruits.

  12. If employers intend to apply for OJT for more than 3 months (for employee aged 40 to below 60) or 6 months (for employee aged 60 or above) to the newly placed job seekers under EPEM, what are the relevant procedures?

    • In general, OJT lasts for 3 months for employee aged 40 to below 60; and 6 months for employee aged 60 or above. To apply for longer OJT, employers should obtain a 'Training Plan' from the EPEM Coordination Office and provide detailed information for vetting. Subject to the approval of the Labour Department with assessment on the nature of the post and business, experience of the employees and mentors, mode and content of the training, etc., the OJT period may be extended to a maximum of 6 months (for employee aged 40 to below 60) and 12 months (for employee aged 60 or above) for deserving cases.
    • Please note that according to our vetting criteria, OJT period is 3 (for employee aged 40 to below 60) and 6 (for employee aged 60 or above) months for certain job positions, e.g. security guards, cleaning workers, clerks, etc.
  13. How to formulate an OJT plan for the new recruits?

    • The main objective of OJT is to help the newly recruited elderly and middle-aged employees to adapt to the new working environment and acquire the essential job-specific skills through training. Employers have to provide OJT within the specified period to the placed job seekers and assign experienced staff as the mentors to assist the job seekers.
    • Training plan can be formulated by employers based on the company business nature, job seekers’ qualifications and job requirements. The content of the training must at least include the following items: assignment of mentor, nature of business and company structure, human resources policy, product and service knowledge, roles and duties of the staff, workflow, job related knowledge and skills.
  14. How do employers apply for payment of OJT allowance?

    Upon completion of the approved OJT by employees, employers shall submit a duly completed 'Assessment-cum-Claim Form' signed by both the employer and the employee, together with salary and attendance records of the concerned employees, no later than 1 month after the end of wage period for the last month of the OJT period and where all relevant wages has been cleared. Upon verifying the information submitted, OJT allowance will be granted to eligible employers in a lump sum by cheque.

  15. Do the newly recruited employees have to sign any documents under EPEM after they are employed?

    Participating employers have to submit a 'Preliminary Application Form' under EPEM. To apply for OJT for more than 3 months (for employee aged 40 to below 60) and 6 months (for employee aged 60 or above), employers have to submit a 'Training Plan' as well. Upon completion of the OJT, employers have to submit an 'Assessment-cum-Claim Form'. The employees concerned have to sign on these documents, and copies of the signed documents will be provided to them for reference.

  16. If employers intend to provide OJT to employees for 1 month, can application for one-month training allowance be made?

    No. For the purpose of applying for training allowance under EPEM, employers have to provide OJT as approved to the placed job seekers, which lasts for 3 months for employee aged 40 to below 60 and 6 months for employee aged 60 or above in general.

  17. How does the Labour Department examine applications submitted under EPEM?

    In addition to the examination of application forms, the Labour Department may conduct on-site inspections to the workplaces and require employers to produce relevant documents, such as Business Registration Certificate, employment contracts, wage and attendance records, MPF records, training records, employer's return of remuneration and pensions and other information for examination.

  18. If the employment ends before completion of the approved OJT period, can employers apply for training allowance and what are the relevant procedures?

    No training allowance will be granted if the OJT period underwent by the employees is less than 1 month. For cases where the completed OJT period is 1 month or above, the Labour Department reserves the right to determine whether or not to grant training allowance and its amount. Employers who wish to apply for the training allowance should submit an 'Assessment-cum-Claim Form', together with salary and attendance records of the concerned employees, to the Labour Department for consideration as soon as the employment has been terminated.

  19. Are there any additional rules to be followed under EPEM if employers are contractors of government departments/statutory bodies?

    If the employers are contractors of government departments/statutory bodies and the concerned tender contracts contain mandatory terms on employment conditions (such as wage rate and working hours) of non-skilled workers, the employers must observe such terms when job seekers are placed into these positions. The Labour Department may request employers to submit relevant documents for verification.

  20. Under what circumstances will an application for OJT allowance be rejected?

    The application for OJT allowance will be rejected if an employer:

    • fails to comply with the guidelines and requirements stipulated under EPEM; or
    • fails to provide OJT as approved under EPEM; or
    • fails to discharge legal responsibilities as an employer under the Minimum Wage Ordinance, the Employment Ordinance, the Employees' Compensation Ordinance or other relevant ordinances; or
    • during the course of OJT, offers the employee wages and/or other employment terms and conditions worse off than those being offered when the 'Letter of 'Approval-in-Principle' was issued under EPEM;
    • fails to provide information timely as required by the Labour Department; or
    • provides false or erroneous information.

    Please refer to the section of 'Employers: Guides on Applying for On-the-job Training Allowance' for relevant information.

  21. What else should employers be aware of?

    Please be reminded that if any employers who provide false or erroneous information for obtaining or intending to obtain OJT allowance under EPEM, they will be liable to an offence. The Labour Department may refer the cases to other divisions of this department and/or other government departments/statutory bodies for follow-up.

For enquiries, please contact EPEM Hotline: 2150 6398 or e-mail at epem_enq@labour.gov.hk.

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