Tips for recruiters to spot the double-jobbers

A fraud prevention boss is urging recruitment agencies to be vigilant amid a rise in cases of so-called ‘double jobbing’.

Tracey Carpenter, insider threat manager for Cifas, says workers caught moonlighting while on sick leave or juggling two full-time remote jobs are often agency staff.

Many of those secretly working two jobs, also known as polygamous working, were employed by local authorities and the NHS, including doctors, social workers and accountants.

In addition to being sacked for gross misconduct, some have been hauled before professional misconduct hearings and barred from their professions while others have faced criminal prosecution and ordered to pay back sick pay, in one case running to £10,565.

Recruiters who knowingly facilitate polygamous working are also committing fraud, says Carpenter – a claim backed up by legal expert Howard Robson.

Carpenter says: “If any agency was aware an employee is going to be working multiple roles with the same core hours or being paid whilst off sick at another job but still allowed them to take the role they are offering, they are facilitating fraudulent activity. This is legally and morally reprehensible.

“Also, employers could claw back wages if multiple jobs were undertaken during the same hours, as the employee couldn’t be doing two or more jobs at once. If there is any suggestion from a jobseeker that they are planning on working multiple roles, then recruitment agencies should tell the candidate they’re engaging in fraudulent activity.”

One way for recruitment agencies to identify polygamous working is if a candidate is reluctant to allow a reference from a previous employer even after accepting a new role. In addition to legally required checks, such as Right to Work, organisations can check Cifas’ Insider Threat Database, which records instances of dishonest conduct by job applicants and employees. Cifas is a not-for-profit fraud prevention service with more than 700 members in both public and private sectors. Members are encouraged to share incidences of fraud that occurs within their own organisations.

But Carpenter notes it can be harder for recruitment agencies to spot polygamous working than employers. And her top tips for employers include:

  • Ensure that line managers and HR teams are aware of polygamous working so that any concerns – such as lack of productivity, frequently missed deadlines, not attending meetings on a regular basis despite it being with their working day (with no legitimate clashes) are investigated.
  • Review sudden instances of regular sickness and investigate further if necessary.
  • Work with finance and HR teams so they are aware of double jobbing and can flag any changes to tax codes for further investigation.

Carpenter adds: “Eradicating dishonest actions by employees sits with all areas of the employee’s recruitment and employment journey, which includes recruitment agencies, pre-employment checks, due diligence and investigating any concerns raised by colleagues or other companies.”

Howard Robson, employment partner at solicitors Warner Goodman, agrees in “certain circumstances where deliberate steps are taken to mislead/defraud end users”, agencies may be liable to civil and criminal fraud claims. For example, an agency might face criminal prosecution for conspiracy to defraud “if they knowingly supply a double-jobbing candidate who is working for end user A while supposedly working for end user B and doubling up fees charged to clients”. Recruiters who are found guilty could face a range of criminal fraud penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

In addition, agencies “may be at risk of a breach of contract claim by the end user client, hence liable for losses the client incurs as a result of the candidate’s failure to perform the services or acting negligently as a result of double jobbing”, says Robson.

For more on polygamous working, take a look at our cover feature on pp20-26 of this issue.

Image credit | iStock

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