The Sunday Telegraph reports that employers planning mass redundancies of furloughed workers face restrictions that may see them forced to pay back taxpayer money. The Treasury has reworded the purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to say it is “integral” that the money is “used by the employer to continue the employment of employees”.
This, the paper says, has panicked some businesses while giving campaigners hope that bosses may now think twice before cutting jobs. MP Huw Merriman is tabling an urgent question asking the Treasury to clarify the changes.Eleena Misra, employment barrister at Old Square Chambers, said the rewording could be interpreted as signalling a crackdown on fraud, while law firm Lewis Silkin notes that HMRC had said the furlough scheme could be used during both redundancy consultation and notice periods, but not for redundancy pay.
HMRC told the Telegraph: “This change is just setting out the intended purpose of the scheme ... employees remain eligible while on their statutory notice period."
Read more: The Sunday Telegraph