Martin Lewis and his MoneySavingExpert.com team have received over 50,000 questions in the last couple of weeks relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
The financial journalist has tried to cover as many topics as possible relating to Covid-19, including banks, holiday refunds, benefits and the big talking point - furlough.
Workers placed on furlough will receive 80 per cent of their salary up to £2,500 per month, from the newly created Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
The scheme offers grants from HMRC to all UK employers who need help to pay the wages of staff who would otherwise be made redundant.
In order to qualify for the grant, an employer must classify a worker as ‘furloughed’, meaning they have been asked to stop working due to coronavirus, but have not lost their job.
But on Wednesday’s edition of This Morning, one woman wrote in to ask Martin for financial advice on furlough that left the founder of MoneySavingExpert.com a bit perplexed, reports Express.co.uk.
Hannah wrote that she has been told that she will be put on furlough but will be required to keep working by her employer.
She was told this over the phone by her higher-ups and wanted to check to see if the ruling was fair.
She was concerned about working the same hours while taking a 20 percent pay cut and it was evident that Martin was clearly shocked by this.
As he straightened his back and lowered his gaze he provided a clear response: “Your company are abusing the system, that is a direct breach of the furlough rules.
“Employees are not allowed to work for their employer if they are put on furlough.”
He went on to provide a very clear explanation on how the rules work: “Now your company can agree with you to reduce your hours, but then it should be paying not the state.
“If it is doing that, you need to go, you and your fellow colleagues, need to say you are asking us to be party to breach of the furlough guidelines and you will be getting the money frequently as an employer.”
Martin conceded that this is a very serious accusation and as such, care should be given to the case to ensure everything is crystal clear.
He finished by providing a simple action that can be taken to resolve this issue quickly advising her to send this message to her employer: “If you’re on furlough as an employee, you cannot work for your employer.
“You can work for somebody else, if your employer allows you to, but you can’t work for your employer.”
It is highly likely that furlough rules will play a key role over the coming weeks as lockdown continues and coronavirus continues to impact the economy.
Businesses across the UK are suffering and many people are expected to be placed on furlough just to ensure that companies survive.
The UK Government makes it clear that the furlough choice is ultimately the employers and not the employees.
The policy outlines that as long as both parties are eligible and agree on the furlough plan, the employer must confirm it in writing.
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If an employee is due to be put on furlough and they have not received written confirmation, they need to contact their employer for clarity. While this will hopefully not become a wider issue, there are procedures in place for dubious claims.
Some workers may be concerned that their employer has claimed on their behalf but is not paying what is owed.
This should initially be flagged with the employer but if this does not work, an employee can take it to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).