Furlough pay: What is a RTI submission?

Furlough is a term which describes workers who have been given a leave of absence. Employers can claim grants to cover 80 percent salary costs amid the coronavirus crisis. But what is a RTI submission and why is it important for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

What is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has promised a package of support for businesses, individuals and families.

Employers are entitled to claim a grant to cover 80 percent of an employee’s salary to prevent them from making workers redundant.

The scheme can be backdated to March 1 and cover costs up to £2,500 a month, plus associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum enrolment employer pension contributions on that subsidised wage.


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Who is eligible for the scheme?

Any UK employer is entitled to make claims for any type of worker including full-time, part-time, casual, and shift workers.

To make a claim, you must have:

  • Created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before March 19, 2020
  • Enrolled for PAYE online
  • Have a UK bank account.

Last week, HM Revenue & Customs revised the furlough scheme guidance to include employees who were working up to March 19.

The scheme was previously criticised for establishing a deadline of February 28, prompting authorities to extend the date.

Sadly, many people working by that date are still exempt from the scheme, because employers must have made a Real-Time Information (RTI) submission on or before March 19.

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What is a RTI submission?

RTI was introduced in 2013 and is a means by which more regular submissions are made.

This platform is designed to make PAYE submissions more efficient, meaning you will need to submit information to HMRC in real-time, every time you pay your employees.

A RTI submission is submitted to HMRC every time an employee is paid and includes infomration about tax and other deductions.

Usually employers submit an RTI monthly, even if they operate a weekly or fortnightly payroll.

How does a RTI submission impact eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?

Many employers need to have made a payroll submission about you to the HMRC on or before March 19 to be eligible for the scheme.

Most employers tend to submit RTI’s a couple of days before their first salary payment, which is most often paid at the end of the month.

This means workers who were employed on March 1 may be ineligible for the scheme if their employer did not make a payroll notification to HMRC before the cut off date.

MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said: “While a 20-day deadline shift doesn’t sound much, the Treasury’s extension of the furloughing cut-off date will, according to the Government, see 200,000 more people eligible for support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.”

He added: “Now, thanks to pressure from the very vocal ‘new starter furlough’ group of those affected, we see this much bigger change, meaning many more people are eligible to be furloughed by their new employers.

“Though it isn’t a panacea – it’s likely far less than the 200,000 official number eligible will actually be helped.

“Some saw their new jobs fall through before starting. Others were due to start after that date or will have been on the payroll too late.

“And as furlough is absolutely at the employer’s discretion, there will be many who have no work and are eligible who aren’t helped.

What to do if your RTI submission was made after the cut-off date?

Unfortunately, there is nothing your current employer can do in this case, you are ineligible to be furloughed by them.

If you worked elsewhere previously, it is possible your former employer could rehire you in order to furlough them.

The cut-off for this is February 28, so you will have to be on that payroll system by that point.

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