MARTIN Lewis has urged furloughed workers to check if they’re still being paid 80% of their salary after a change in how the scheme works.
The MoneySavingExpert founder used his weekly newsletter to warn furloughed workers to keep an eye on their payslips.
Furlough rules changed this month with the government’s contribution towards workers’ wages falling from 80% to 70%, up to a cap of £2,187.50 a month.
Employers must also now pay 10% of salaries to make up the rest of the 80% of wages, up to a cap of £2,500 a month.
This means workers should still be paid their full 80% salary, up to £2,500 a month.
Martin says he hasn’t heard of any examples of bosses making underpayments, but he has warned people to check payslips just in case employers aren’t coughing up enough.
This is particularly important as more changes are yet to come. From October 1, the government’s contribution will fall from 70% of wages to 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 a month.
Businesses will then have to contribute 20% of salaries for furloughed workers.
Bosses have also had to cover the cost of employers’ national insurance and pension contributions since August 1 with the government no longer footing this bill.
While from July 1, employees could also start to return to work part-time with bosses claiming furlough pay for the hours they don’t work.
Some 9.6million people have been furloughed by their employer since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
Martin explained in his newsletter: “The government is only covering 70% of salaries and employers are being asked to pay the rest, plus national insurance and pension contributions.
“Yet you should still get the 80% – do ensure your employer’s paying you what you’re due.
“Plus if your employer asks you to work, it should be giving you full pay for the hours you do, and you only get furlough pay for the rest of your normal hours that you don’t do.”
A spokesperson from HMRC told The Sun it has measures in place to help prevent fraud or misuse of furlough scheme money.
This includes its Fraud Hotline, where employees can report suspected cases of fraud to HMRC.
Members of the public can contact the Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
A HMRC spokesperson said: “We’d ask anyone concerned their employer might be abusing the scheme to please contact us.
“It could be that you’re not being paid what you’re entitled to, or they may have claimed for times when you were working.
“Reports can be submitted to us entirely anonymously and everything we receive is assessed and a decision made on the most appropriate course of action.”
Furloughed workers should get at least 80% of their regular salary, capped at £2,500 a month, but some employers are choosing to top this up to the full 100%.
If your employer has said it’ll cover your wages so you get 100% of your usual pay, you shouldn’t notice a change in income.
But if you’re expecting 80%, and you get a regular salary, you’ll need to work out what 80% of your pre-tax monthly pay is.
As this calculation is done on your pre-tax salary, you will then have to pay tax and national insurance on it as normal.
If you’re working part-time, you should only calculate your furlough pay based on the hours you’re not working.
Zero hero workers can also be furloughed, although their pay is calculated a little differently.
Your company will use whichever is higher out of:
Tom Neil, Acas senior adviser, said: “Furloughed employees are not required to attend work, but are entitled to still receive 80% (up to £2,500) of their normal wages.
“Employers are eligible if they have a HM Revenue Customs (HMRC) payroll system that allows them to collect income tax and national insurance from employees, also known as PAYE.”
Self-employed workers aren’t entitled to furlough pay, but they’ve been able to claim grants worth 80% of their profits through the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS).
Martin has previously warned that employers will start making hundreds of thousands of people redundant if they can’t afford payments.
The MoneySavingExpert founder has also explained how he’s fighting to help those missing out on coronavirus cash support.