Small and medium sized employers will be able to recover coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) made to staff via a new online service from next week.

Firms – including those in the travel industry – will be able to make their claims through the new system from May 26.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was unveiled in the Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

This scheme will allow companies with fewer than 250 employees to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP.

This means they will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former staff for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after March 13, according to HMRC.

The current rate of SSP is £95.85 a week but was £94.25 per week for the period between March 13 and April 5.

Work and pensions secretary 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 re-opens.”

HMRC customer services director general Angela MacDonald added: “Our teams have worked hard to deliver this 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.”

Employers are eligible if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before February 28 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.