Back in March, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help protect job during the pandemic crisis. On 12th May, he extended the scheme until the end of October, and from August, employers will have to start contributing to their workers’ wages.
Unfortunately, it appears that some employers have been taking advantage of this scheme. The generosity of the Government is now open to abuse.
Furloughed employees must not undertake any kind of work for their employer whilst on furlough leave.
Job Retention Scheme Fraud
HMRC confirmed to the MEN that it has received 795 reports of potential fraud related to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Bosses at whistle-blower support organisations have claimed that many workers are scared to report employers who are asking them to continue to work despite claiming furlough support.
More than 70% of businesses have utilised the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Sadly, many of these have reportedly furloughed their staff, but still expect them to work.
Others have claimed the compensation from the scheme without passing it on to their employees.
HMRC set up a whistle-blower hotline and appealed to employees to report their employers.
The scheme is bound to be targeted by organised criminals who are always one step ahead of the authorities.
Employers acting without integrity during a crisis would lead to harsh sentences.
Whilst the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and HMRC are prioritising serious crimes at the moment, they will turn to these fraudsters in time. We expect to see a wave of fraud and organised crime in the next 12-24 months.