Furlough scheme misuse estimated at £3 Billion

15 Sep Furlough scheme misuse estimated at £3 Billion

Yes – that’s £3 Billion – is either fraudulent or incorrect.

Misuse of the scheme can be more nuanced than the blatant ‘claiming for employee’s who have left’!

Something that may appear innocent but was originally forbidden under the Government Job Retention Scheme may include employees:

  • required to do some work whilst on furlough; or
  • have purposely returned from sickness absence or maternity leave – just to benefit from the scheme.

HMRC will audit and enforce and the consequences against those who have abused the system under the Finance Act 2020 and their powers are rather extensive.

Put simply, if you’re not sure you are compliant, take advice first!

It does, however, appear that declaring it to HMRC could avoid a penalty subject to you doing so within very specific time periods.

If you don’t declare or repay HMRC may then:

  • recover any monies claimed via tax assessment;
  • charge penalties of up to 100% of the amounts wrongly received.

So, if you don’t inform HMRC during the relevant notification periods that means you’ll be punished – and in some cases criminal liability may follow too.

What about complaints of breaches of the scheme?

We are seeing a lot of this. Do bear in mind, any complaints of fraudulent claims made by employees will be protected in employment law and any subsequent detrimental treatment of any employees who raise such issues could create rather expensive and difficult whistleblowing and constructive unfair dismissal claims.

Please audit your furlough payments and circumstances and if there is any doubt on those or any issues raised by staff – get in touch and take advice, our team are here to help: enquiries@bridgeehr.co.uk