I have been on furlough, though I never applied as I thought I didn't qualify. My work is sort of part time freelance in that I get offered short contracts and can accept them or not.
A couple of companies I usually do work for simply started paying furlough money into my account. Ironically the company I do the most work for wrote saying I didn't qualify, possibly because I was out of the country in January and February but that is irrelevant to my question.
I am no longer in receipt of furlough pay and a very limited number of jobs are currently on offer but I am loathe to apply. It is customer facing work and I have been told I have to wear a mask for 8 hours a day which I will find exceedingly stressful. If I don't apply for these jobs someone else will do, so the companies won't be left in the lurch.
Am I being unreasonable to now retire? Is it unethical to have accepted the government money then decide not to return to work?
Wasn't there a news story recently that the govt have been giving companies registers off shore billions in support and they don't pay any tax here?! Makes my blood boil. Keep your furlough pay you deserve it more than them!
I would say definitely to retire and accept the money as some of the tax you and OH have paid in over the years for just such a possibility. By retiring you are freeing up a job for a young person or family with children who will badly need it .
I agree with the above comments: you accepted the money in good faith, and now you are retiring and freeing up a job for someone of working age. You don't mention any particular circumstances, but I would take your time to settle into your new circumstances and look round a bit. Your skills may well be wanted in a volunteer, or possibly casual role. However, retirement lets us look afresh at how we live. I hope it goes well.
Am not sure how you would repay it anyway, the revenue wouldn't know what to do with it, they are only geered up to accept payments in certain ways, and as I work for an accountant, I couldn't advise on how to pay it back to them, as it is so unique. So I would keep it or as other have said give it to charity
Have a happy retirement! Please don’t return the money. If you don’t need it then perhaps give it to a charity that supports food banks or helps the homeless. That way it redirects the money to those who really need it. During lockdown my husband received food boxes from the government scheme. It took 5 weeks for them to stop sending one and in that time we just donated the weekly box to the local food bank.
Thank you cupcake1 for the flowers and everyone else who generously took the trouble to reply. As you will see if you followed the thread I have already decided to finish work but will donate the furlough money to my local hospice to ease my conscience.
Personally I think we’ve should let the youngsters get the jobs. Many of us have enjoyed full employment and the benefits of free education, young people will be struggling to find work and pay off their colossal university debts. We've had our chance, now let someone who is desperate take your place.
I think you have probably got your working years in! Now you certainly have the choice of which way to go and what to do. Definitely not being unreasonable, a situation like this has never arisen before and no one is quite sure what to do for the best. But it is uncertain times and no one can give us any guarantees. So go with your heart, then your head will sort out the finer details. Best of luck!
I think you know when it's time to retire, I know I certainly did, and OH too. If. you feel you're at that point, retire. If you're not sure then you haven't reached it yet. You can check up about the conditions of furlough money, but there must be others in your position, including many who reassessed their life during lockdown. You've not claimed the money fraudulently so why feel guilty?