The UK Government’s job retention scheme has been vulnerable to various reports of fraudulent claiming. Under the scheme, employers were able to furlough employees who could no longer work due to the coronavirus pandemic and recover 80% of wages. With the furlough scheme extended to October 2020, the cost of the scheme has so far resulted in over £20.8billion being claimed. However, it has been reported by Crossland Employment Solicitors that around 1/3 of employees have been asked to commit furlough fraud, with threats of deportation and lower wages if they fail to comply.
In light of these claims, HMRC have been seeking legislative power to further investigate claims to check that employers are correctly and lawfully using the scheme. Employers have been given a 30-day period to admit any mistakes made, in order to avoid the financial penalties which will apply if found guilty of fraud.
By Beth Zheng