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Emergency Volunteering Leave

Coronavirus and Emergency Volunteering Leave

On 19 March 2020, the Coronavirus Bill introduced a new statutory right for workers to take emergency volunteering leave to help support essential health and social care services.

It is not yet known when this legislation will come into force but, when it does, workers will be able to take up to four weeks’ absence from work in order to volunteer in the health or social care sector. This leave can be taken in blocks of two, three or four weeks, and workers can take one period of leave in each "volunteering period” (initially 16 weeks).

To take this emergency volunteering leave, workers must give their employers three working days’ notice and provide a certificate showing that they have been approved as a volunteer by an appropriate authority. The right will not apply where the employing business has fewer than 10 staff.

Employees and workers will be protected from detriment and dismissal. The Bill will also provide employees with the right to return to the same job as if they had not been absent. Emergency Volunteering Leave will be unpaid, but the Government may set up a scheme to compensate workers who have volunteered in respect of loss of earnings and expenses.

Simply-Docs will provide further details as they become available.

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