JAMIE Oliver has put around 20 of his staff on furlough using taxpayers' cash to partially fund wages despite his reported personal wealth of £240million.
The chef is the latest celebrity to fall back on the government's fund to pay staff despite his multi-millionaire status.
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It comes as Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones has reportedly furloughed 400 Jessops workers despite his £490million personal fortune.
While Victoria Beckham sparked fury last week by furloughing 25 of her fashion staff despite her family being worth a reported £335million.
Sir Richard Branson and Sir Philip Green have also faced the wrath of the public for relying on government funds to pay their staff.
The Jamie Oliver Group confirmed to The Sun that around 20 of its 120 employees have been placed on furlough because they're unable to work due to the coronavirus lockdown.
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This includes chefs who run classes at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School in London.
Under the government's furlough scheme, workers are paid 80 per cent of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 a month – or £30,000 a year.
The Jamie Oliver Group says it will top-up the salaries of staff who earn more than £30,000 a year to ensure they're paid at least 80 per cent of their total salary while on furlough.
All other staff are being paid in full as normal as they're able to work from home.
The Group says it doesn't currently employ any restaurant staff in the UK.
Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire, which included 20 Jamie's Italian restaurants, as well as Barbecoa and Fifteen in London, tumbled into administration last summer.
It saw thousands of tearful staff left without jobs, many of whom had turned up to work to find restaurants closed.
The TV chef, 44, had pumped £18million of his own money into the business to try and save it.
He now has three restaurants operating in his name – one Jamie's Italian restaurant and two Jamie's Delis – all found in Gatwick Airport.
But the Group says these are run on a franchise arrangement with decisions on operations and staff taken by food travel specialist SSP.
The Sun has asked SSP if it has furloughed any of its staff and we'll update this story as soon as we get a response.
Reports from around the time Jamie Oliver's restaurant empire collapsed last summer put his net worth at around £240million.
The latest financial results for the chef's media appearances and cookery books (under Jamie Oliver Holdings) reveal he pocketed dividends of around £5.2million in 2018.
Meanwhile, his Group (under Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited) posted a post-tax profit of £1.6million in 2018, according to the latest Companies House data.
And another company in his name (under Jamie Oliver Limited) reported post-tax profits of £4.2million also in the year ending December 2018
Earlier this year, we revealed how Jamie Oliver was planning a £6million upgrade to his sprawling country pad in Essex.
A spokesperson for the Jamie Oliver Group said: “Protecting jobs is our absolute priority right now, and putting members of staff who are not currently able to work because of the impact of COVID19 on furlough leave will allow us to return to normal as soon as possible once government restrictions are lifted.”
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