“At the beginning, I didn’t know how to feel, but it only took about five or ten minutes of research to realize that no, you certainly could not work in any capacity. ”
Steve (not his real name) is 27 and works in the manufacturing, in the County of Durham. His employer told him that he had been furloughed, but later, he received a message from his boss asking him to connect and work.
Under the furlough plan, which has been taken to minimize unemployment because of the sars coronavirus crisis, the government pays 80% of the staff salaries up to £ 2,500 per month. But once the employee has been furloughed, they can’t do all the work that has to help their employer make money.
However, HM Revenue and Customs, told the BBC that he has received more than 3,000 reports of long-standing fraud since the month of April.
After having learned that he was not allowed to perform work while on leave of convalescence, he felt uncomfortable and refused to open a session. He lost his job in May.
“I am disappointed and angry that there are companies out there that want to exploit the seniority regime,” he said.
‘Magnet for fraudsters
More than a quarter of the UK workforce is now supported by the seniority system and the cost of the measure has reached £19.6 billion euros.
An employer’s online application, giving their names, National Insurance numbers and dates of employment.
But the system has been found to be open to abuse. A survey showed that more than a third of furloughed employees have been asked by bosses to perform the work upon receipt of the funds in the framework of the coronavirus job retention plan.
One-third of furloughed employees have been encouraged to continue to do their usual work, while 29% said to perform more administrative tasks, according to the survey conducted by the Crossland Employment Solicitors.
Now SHE is preparing to confront fraudulent or erroneous claims.
Earlier this month, its chief executive, Jim Harra told the house of Commons Public Accounts Committee that the plan ” has been a magnet for fraudsters “. He said tipoffs have been taken ” very seriously “.
There is no automatic trigger that would tell HMRC has someone been asked to work during a leave, or if the money had not reached the correct account.
But if an employee reported their employer to the tax and customs administration, it would be simple for the department to cross-check the Pay as you Earn (PAYE) system. An employee may also produce evidence which shows that they had been asked to work.
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Lucy (not her real name) is in his mid-20’s and work in the home in London. She was placed on furlough in March, but said she was then asked to work with the help of her personal email account and a phone number.
Lucy has told the BBC that it is yet to work up to 20 hours per week, even if she knows what she’s doing is wrong.
“My livelihood depends on this,” she said. “I feel an enormous amount of anxiety. ”
“The whole team is still at work. They told us that if we want to stop us, but I know that if I did, it would be ugly – that I don’t look committed.
“Also, I want my business to survive this. ”
“On the one hand, I want to work to feel normal, while the world falls apart, but it feels like a moral dilemma. I’m confused and upset and wondering what is the right thing to do. “
When employers are found to have inadvertently violated the rules, they could be made to make the money in cash. But if SHE can prove that he has the intention to do so, the employer faces up to 10 years in prison.
Toby Duthie, a chartered accountant and is associated with the Risk of medico-Legal of the Alliance, said that although the government need to act quickly to cover the wages, the speed at which the leave has been introduced meant that there was a lot of uncertainty and a lack of clarity for employers.
“It is also the season for people who want to abuse the system,” he told the BBC.
SHE pointed out that some employers may be accidentally commit seniority to the fraud, such as inviting colleagues to do a little work prior to their date of departure. And during his first round of surveys, about a third of the cases did not warrant further investigation.
He said: “We believe that the vast majority of businesses that will use the system correctly. ”
The names have been changed to protect identities.