Furlough fraud is becoming more prominent, especially as flexible failing comes in, where employers are allowed to bring employees back for some hours. If your employer is claiming money back from HMRC and asking you to work, it amounts to fraud. So what do you do as an employee in this situation? Because clearly you don’t want to upset your employer, but you also don’t want to facilitate fraud.
If you’re an employee
What you need to be doing, first of all, is refusing to work whilst on furlough and making sure that’s really clear in writing, by putting it in writing. It is also recommended you provide enough information about the request to work and state that you believe it is a breach of a legal obligation and could amount to criminal conduct.
If you do that, what that then means is you’re protected potentially under the whistleblowing legislation because you’re effectively blowing the whistle about criminal activity. Fraud is a criminal event. So what that means for you is that if your employer then decides to dismiss you, demote you or not pay you as a result of that, or you suffer any detriment because you’ve complained about the fact that they’re acting illegally, you are then protected and you can bring a claim for injury to feelings and loss of finance financial losses.
If you’re an employer accused of furlough fraud
As shown above, it is quite clear what furlough fraud is. HMRC are going to take a tough stance on furlough fraud as it has cost hundreds of billions. Any chance they get to take back some of that money and punish people who unlawfully took furlough fraud payments they will take. Should you be accused of furlough fraud there are important steps you should take. Firstly, calling us and explaining your circumstances. Having experienced lawyers who have worked on fraud cases should be your first priority.
It is important to not challenge your employees as this could exacerbate the situation and further breakdown the relationship. Gather any evidence, such as emails sent, letters sent requesting people to work so that we can view them. We are experienced lawyers and trusted by thousands each year so call us immediately if facing furlough fraud charges.