Short-time work fraud during COVID-19: we want your testimonies!

Companies that wrongly receive short-time work aid are committing theft.

We are looking for witnesses for questioning — that of course will be treated strictly anonymously — on the subject of subvention fraud with Corona short-time work! We would like to bring this topic into the light of the public to prevent entrepreneurs from exploiting their employees and stealing from the state!

Help us and simply write us your experiences to dsc2@diem25.lu or via Facebook Messenger to DiEM25 Luxembourg DSC. Or we can meet in person for a talk – it’s up to you. If you are not working in Luxembourg, of course you can write us as well and we will direct you to a DSC in the respective country that will take care of the issue.

What is it about?

In order to mitigate the economic damage of the Lockdown, many European countries, including Luxembourg, offer immediate help for companies in the form of short-time work benefits.

The employer pays short-time work compensation to his employees and then states the exact work loss for each affected employee in order to have it reimbursed by the state.

Especially now, in times of the coronavirus crisis and the increased work from home without electronic recording of working hours, it is not easy for the state to control the truth of the data. This tempts many companies to benefit unjustifiably from the government’s short-time work subsidies and to adjust the actual working hours to their advantage.

Why is that a problem?

Quite simple: Increased profits through short-time work at the expense of the employee!

From nice hints that “the short-time work is not a holiday” and “everyone has to contribute to the well-being of the company during this difficult time” to threats that all those who do not support the fraud will lose their jobs sooner or later – the employee is forced to give up part of his salary and still perform the full workload.

In many cases, short-time work is only started on a normal employee basis; top management and leadership positions usually continue to work as normal, i.e. continue to receive their full salary. This is an injustice that shows that the reason “to have to make sacrifices for the common good” is only a pretext to exploit the weakest employees even more.

Are you witnessing subsidy fraud with the coronavirus short-time work regime?

Unfortunately, in many cases even the works’ council is aware and silent, so it is difficult for workers to take measures to stop exploitation. Ideally, the National Employment Agency (ADEM) or the labour union should be informed.

Or you address the press to make them aware of the problem, if you want to stay anonymous and minimise the risks for yourself.

I am not affected by short-time work fraud in my employment – why should I be bothered by the fraud of individual companies against the state?

The state itself has no money of its own; the main income is taxes such as income tax, sales tax or inheritance tax, and is therefore paid by the people. The government decides what the money — our money — is spent on. Money that is wrongly paid out as short-time work aid, for example, is thus no longer available for really important issues such as social institutions, climate change or the public infrastructure.

In short – companies that wrongly receive short-time work aid are committing theft. In addition, tax evasion and tax avoidance by companies and private individuals in the European Union accounts for 1,000 billion euros of taxpayers’ money – and Luxembourg is at the top of the list as one of the most popular tax havens.

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