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Dodgy furlough calculations, how should I reply?

(16 Posts)
MojoJojo71 Tue 21-Jul-20 21:21:12

I have 2 jobs and was furloughed from one of them in April. I’m on a zero hours contract but work regularly and using the government calculator for furlough pay I should have received £470 per month in furlough pay but I only received £200. I asked them how they worked this out and they said they had used an average of January, February and March to calculate how much to pay me. I was on holiday for 3 weeks in February and didn’t work half of March due to lockdown so my average over these 3 months was less than usual. I queried this and pointed out that the government calculator states that it should be calculated as 80% of the same month last year or the monthly average of the last year, whichever is highest.

That was several weeks ago and today I finally received a reply stating that they will ‘make an exception’ and pay me the difference as ‘my circumstances are exceptional’. However they also said they would ‘appreciate you not discussing this with colleagues as I do think that it is reasonable for me to change our own policy’

That’s super dodgy right? I’ve actually already mentioned it to a couple colleagues who were waiting to hear the outcome of my query so too late for that. I want to reply saying something along the lines of it’s not your policy it’s the government’s and it’s not up to you to calculate it how you see fit. If they are claiming the full amount from the government and not passing it on to their employees then that’s fraudulent surely??

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Tue 21-Jul-20 22:09:17

It is fraudulent and they should be reported to HMRC

MojoJojo71 Tue 21-Jul-20 22:31:15

That’s my feeling too. I don’t think it was deliberate but I think they’ve misunderstood initially and now that I’ve pointed out their mistake they want me to keep quiet.

I’m going to mull it over for a couple of days but I feel I have to reply to their email. It’s going to have to be carefully worded but I feel I need to point out that their behaviour is potentially fraudulent and that they could find themselves in hot water.

OP’s posts: |
userxx Tue 21-Jul-20 22:35:07

How do you know they are claiming the amount you calculated? They might have just made an error and be claiming the smaller amount.

Campervan69 Tue 21-Jul-20 22:37:22

Sorry to jump on to your thread but I had a similar problem with my boss except what he did was put us all on 20 hours instead of usual 40 from the 1st of April and then furlough us so he only claimed from the government 80% of 50% of my usual salary. I have been in dispute with him ever since but he refuses to claim back what he should have claimed for me which would have been 80% of my usual salary. I am completely at a loss as to where to go from here any ideas?

userxx Tue 21-Jul-20 22:40:11

@Campervan69 Why did he do that? What was his logic?

Campervan69 Tue 21-Jul-20 22:43:09

He said he thought it was how it worked. I told him no i should get 80% of my February pay cheque but he took no notice. I'm not sure what to do next really.

userxx Tue 21-Jul-20 22:48:51

If he realises his error I'm unsure why he doesn't just do an extra catch up claim. Are you still furloughed? Does your boss do the payroll himself? Maybe he's overwhelmed by it.

MojoJojo71 Tue 21-Jul-20 22:49:56

@userxx I don’t know for certain but I’m assuming that when you claim HMRC asks for the same figures they ask for on the calculator? Maybe that’s not the case and they just tell HMRC how much they’ve paid us and claim it back? That seems even more open to fraud though. Like I say I don’t think it’s deliberate but I do think that now it’s been brought to their attention they should be investigating and correcting the error rather than asking me to keep quiet about it.

Either way surely it’s money that the government had allocated to be paid to furloughed workers and we should be paid the correct amount as laid down by the government not an ad hoc calculation by individual employers.

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Tue 21-Jul-20 23:44:07

I shall help slightly as I’ve actually seen a furlough claim. It’s just a total figure and a bunch of NI numbers (which then in turn employees need to have a furlough flag added on the payroll system ). The underlying calculations are not given to HMRC. Yes it’s very open to manipulation. The money is paid into whatever the company’s nominated account is and if it’s a current account presumably in theory again the company could pocket some of the money. The main issue would be if the business was audited ie their payroll records wouldn’t add up to the furlough claim etc.

ElinoristhenewEnid Wed 22-Jul-20 07:57:48

I have completed furlough claims and yes you just put in your own figures - you do not have to justify them. There is no benefit in underclaiming for employees.
When you submit the claim you do have to confirm that all the money claimed will be paid/applied iro the employee and that the claim is accurate to best of your knowledge. There are several warnings about fraudulent claims.
It is so open to abuse but assume they can check named employees against what is submitted on the PAYE system via RTI.

ElinoristhenewEnid Wed 22-Jul-20 08:00:17

Also the training videos were excellent and covered all the scenarios re average earnings/comparable earnings from last year.

userxx Wed 22-Jul-20 08:21:26

@MojoJojo71 You don't need to use the figures provided by the calculator. I don't understand why he won't make the extra claim, unless of course he has claimed the full amount from hmrc and is only giving you a proportion. How many other staff are on the payroll, are their salaries incorrect?

Moondust001 Wed 22-Jul-20 14:23:45

You have no evidence that they have done anything fraudulent.

You can do anything you like, talk to anyone you like. And since you are on a zero hours contract they are free to rescind your furlough, return you to work, then never offer you another hours employment ever.

So I'd suggest thinking about whether you are happy to not work for them again. And not suggest that they are committing fraud unless you have evidence that they are.

MojoJojo71 Wed 22-Jul-20 18:18:48

I never thought that they had been deliberately fraudulent and now that I realise that employers don’t actually have to use the government calculator and they just can claim on their own figures I don’t actually think they have done anything fraudulent at all but I do maybe think they’ve miscalculated and that some people might have been under or overpaid during furlough. Anyway I think I’ll just reply letting them know that I have actually already discussed it with several of my colleagues while I was waiting for them to get back to me and thanking them for paying me the additional amount.

OP’s posts: |
userxx Wed 22-Jul-20 21:10:47

Hopefully you will be able to get it sorted, it makes no sense to underclaim. I didn't get on with the calculator at all, found it much easier to work it out manually.

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