Employment Alert – Emergency Volunteering Leave

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What’s happening?

The Government has introduced Emergency Volunteering Leave under the Coronavirus Act. In summary, it allows workers to take a break from their main job and volunteer temporarily in the NHS or social care sector. Absence can be taken in a block of either two, three or four weeks and only one period of leave can be taken in any 16-week volunteering period.

Why is this important?

Any workers can do this if:

  1. They give their employer 3 working days’ notice
  2. They have a certificate from the NHS Commissioning Board or the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, confirming they will be entitled to take emergency volunteering leave under the scheme and when the leave will be taken.

There is no obligation to pay employees during emergency volunteering leave but there is no scope for employers to refuse leave. It is unlawful to subject a worker to any detriment and automatically unfair to dismiss any worker for taking (or seeking to take) emergency volunteering leave.

What should you do?

  1. Familiarise yourself with the rules.
  2. Remember that all other terms and conditions remain in place – so for example – they still accrue holiday.
    Allow any employees who take this leave to return to the job they were in before the leave.

Note: This may affect your ability to recover furlough pay for that employee.

If you need any further guidance, please contact our experienced team of employment solicitors on 0800 2800 421 or email Employment.Alert@trethowans.com to find out how we can help.