The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which was announced at the Budget on 11 March, will be launched online next week (Tuesday 26 May).
The scheme will mean small and medium-sized operators can apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.
They will receive payments at the relevant rate of SSP they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
Employers are eligible if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.
The repayment will cover up to two weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they have coronavirus, are self-isolating and unable to work from home, or are shielding because they have been advised they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
The current rate of SSP is £95.85 a week. The scheme covers all types of employment contracts including full-time, part-time, employees on agency contracts and those in flexible or zero-hours contracts.
Employers can furlough employees who have been advised to shield and are unable to work from home under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – meaning they receive 80% of their wages up to £2,500 per month.
However, once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classed as a furloughed employee.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls highlighted that any additional support for business was crucial but it may be undermined if other support around furlough is not forthcoming.
Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions Therese Coffey said: “We are committed to supporting Britain’s small and medium businesses through this pandemic with a comprehensive package of support.
“This rebate will put money back in the pockets of millions of employers, ensuring they can hit the ground running as the economy reopens.”
HMRC director general of customer services Angela MacDonald said her teams had worked hard to deliver the scheme for employers and their employees to ensure they get the support they need.
“We want employers to be secure in the knowledge they will receive help as they care for their staff during this difficult period,” she added.