Employment barrister's stark warning for people being asked to work while on furlough

18 June 2020, 14:22 | Updated: 18 June 2020, 14:49

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

With changes being made to the Government's furlough scheme one employment expert has warned that the consequences for defrauding the system will be stark.

"A lot of people are finding they're being asked to go back to work part-time," Daniel Barnett, an Employment Barrister at Outer Temple Chambers told LBC

The expert said part-time working while on coronavirus furlough was not illegal from July 1, under the Government's flexible furlough scheme, but he warned that returning to work before that date, while still on furlough, is "completely unlawful".

The barrister even said employers could be prosecuted for defrauding HMRC.

But, he said he had discovered it was an "increasingly common problem."

"HMRC have said they're going to be investigating, over the next five years, all furlough claims," he told LBC.

The barrister warned that people would not be able to get around the strict rules.

He was even able to tell Nick Ferrari examples of people who were getting their staff to use personal email addresses for work "so the revenue will never find out."

"That's just fraud, plain and simple," he said.

HMRC will investigate all furlough payments, Nick Ferrari was told
HMRC will investigate all furlough payments, Nick Ferrari was told. Picture: LBC/PA

Nick asked what should employees do if they were approached by their bosses to work while they are meant to be on furlough and Daniel said there were two things an employee can do.

"First of all, they can just refuse," he said, adding if they were sacked as a result they would have a "pretty rocksolid" claim for unfair dismissal.

"The other thing they can do is report their employer to a confidential helpline that HMRC runs."

He said his advice to employers was "very very simple, don't do it."

"The rules are there to be obeyed."

The legal expert warned the results of defrauding the system could be stark for businesses "there's a very real possibility the directors could be prosecuted."

Watch the whole informed exchange in the video at the top of the page.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Rachel Reeves spoke to Nick Ferrari this morning

Shadow Chancellor: Tax North Sea gas firms to help struggling families

Lord Stuart Rose, chairman of Asda, has welcomed the return to the office.

'Hallelujah': New Asda Chairman Lord Rose hails WFH end and says 'forget about Covid'

Nick Ferrari hit out at the former Tory MP

Nick Ferrari: It is shameful that Christian Wakeford defected to Labour with no by-election

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said Gary Neville "brings life to politics".

'He brings life to politics': Andy Burnham welcomes Gary Neville to the Labour team

Andy Burnham has said he cannot see how the Prime Minister can survive the partygate scandal.

Isn’t it time to go Boris? Andy Burnham tells LBC ‘I don’t see how the PM can survive’

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch LIVE from 9am

Call Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham | Watch Again

James Heappey has said he is giving the PM the benefit of the doubt.

Boris 'deserves the benefit of the doubt' over partygate scandal, minister insists

Mr Heappey said Prince Andrew had been 'moved from public view'

Prince Andrew's Epstein and Maxwell links ‘horrifically ill-advised,' minister tells LBC

Nick Ferrari asked the question of Dominic Raab

'Who should my listeners believe on partygate? The PM or Dominic Cummings?'

Dominic Raab said Insulate Britain's actions are not "normal, peaceful protest, but sabotage"

Eco-mob protests are sabotage, Raab says as Govt pushes ahead with protest crackdown

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

'T-levels, not Tory Leader': Nadhim Zahawi explains TL lapel badge

Nadhim Zahawi has called on Sir Keir Starmer to apologise

'Boris said sorry, Keir should too': Zahawi blasts Labour leader over partygate

No10 has apologised to Buckingham Palace

No10 says sorry to the Queen after lockdown-breaking party night before Philip's funeral

Tesco Chairman John Allan CBE

LBC Exclusive: Tesco Chairman says stores 'coping well' after Brexit

An eco-activist has vowed that her jail time has only increased her determination

'Whatever it takes': Freed eco activist vows to carry on protests after leaving jail

The Security Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Minister refuses to admit if taxpayers are funding Duke of York's security