UK employees should report cases of breaching Furlough Rules by firms – Transport secretary

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UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Wednesday that employees should whistle-blow if their employers pressured them to work during the COVID-19 pandemic, in violation of the government’s furlough scheme.

The scheme, which was launched in early March by the government to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic for three months, allows firms to send employees on vacations during the pandemic with the government paying cash grants of up to 80 per cent of their wages but no more than 2,500 pounds ($3,125).

Earlier in the day, the Sky News broadcaster reported that, according to HM Revenue and Customs department (HMRC), it received 795 reports from furloughed workers who are being pressured to continue working.
Moreover, 20 per cent of them have been reportedly received from people working in the care sector.
“In any scheme around the edges there will be people trying to abuse it. And that would be a criminal offense.

“Employees will do the right thing, I am sure, if that thing happens.
“You cannot claim government money whilst making staff work.
“That would be completely against the rules of the scheme and HMRC would have something to say about that,” Shapps told Sky News.
The transport secretary urged people to whistleblow cases of pressure, noting that the furlough scheme in the UK is “black and white,” meaning that an employee could either be furloughed or not, and companies cannot break the rules in such situation.

“Well, absolutely. People cannot break the law about this,” Shapps said, when asked whether employees should report such cases.

The UK has so far confirmed 226,463 COVID-19 cases and 32,692 related deaths.