Beware of subsidy fraud when applying for short-time working allowance
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Beware of subsidy fraud when applying for short-time working allowance

Short-time working allowance as an instrument in the Corona crisis can help to secure liquidity. However, you should proceed carefully when applying for it. Anyone who makes false statements may be committing a criminal offence. We provide all information on subsidy fraud when applying for short-time working allowance.

The legislator has simplified the access for employers to short-time working allowance in order to be able to compensate for the loss of working hours and sales during the crisis. The responsible authorities advertise with quick approval and the number of applications is increasing.

In the following cases, you are committing fraud when applying for short-time working allowance

We recommend short-time working allowance as an instrument in the crisis and consider it a sensible option. Nevertheless, the applications must be filled in with care. After all, false information can quickly be considered as fraud. The application forms also make explicit reference to this:

Providing incorrect or incomplete information can, under certain circumstances, constitute a criminal offence of fraud. Fraud can lead to imprisonment of up to five years.

In the following cases, you are committing subsidy fraud when applying for short-time working allowance

Incorrect information on loss of working hours could even constitute subsidy fraud. This is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment.

Incidentally, reckless action is sufficient in this case. In legal terms, anyone who disregards due care in a gross and avoidable manner is acting recklessly. Incorrect or incomplete information already constitutes a crime. It is irrelevant whether the information was made incorrectly consciously or unconsciously. In this case, there is no need to prove that any damage has occurred as a result.

Concrete examples of fraud and subsidy fraud when applying for short-time working allowance

In principle, there is always a risk if the employer violates his or her duties of examination, investigation, information or supervision when filing an application.

Possible examples of fraud or subsidy fraud:

  • Employer does not check whether employees could have carried out other work in order to prevent loss of working hours.
  • Employer does not give priority to using vacation days to avoid loss of working hours or claim that no vacation days are left
  • Employer keeps incomplete time sheets so that the loss of working hours cannot be determined plausibly and the payment of short-time working allowance is higher than the employer can actually claim.

Our assessment

We take a positive view of the rapid approval of short-time working allowance. In our consulting practice we see that it secures liquidity for entrepreneurs in a crisis.

However, comparable to all subsidy and deferral rules, the requirement remains to fill out the applications carefully, truthfully and completely. Particularly against the background of a possible criminal relevance, you should pay special attention to the careful completion of the applications.

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Rechtsanwalt in Düsseldorf and Krefeld, Marcus Büscher
Marcus Büscher
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