Coronavirus: Emergency Volunteering Leave

The Coronavirus Act 2020 introduces a new statutory right for workers to take emergency volunteering leave (EVL) to help support essential health and social care authorities during the nation’s response to the current Coronavirus pandemic.

All University employees have the right to take EVL provided that they are in receipt of an “Emergency Volunteering Certificate” (EVC”) from a relevant health or social care authority such as a Local Authority, the NHS Commissioning Board or the Department of Health.

Employees must give the University at least 3 working days advance written notice of EVL by providing a copy of the EVC. If you are selected for EVL, please immediately email a copy of your EVC to:

If you have already volunteered to be an NHS Volunteer Responders or if you are intending to volunteer, please advise your line manager. If you are issued with an EVC, please discuss with your line manager about how your work will be covered while you are on EVL.

EVL can be taken in periods of two, three or four weeks. The period will be stated on the certificate.

Only one period of EVL can be taken in any one 16 week volunteering period, although the Government is able to announce consecutive volunteering periods.

Whilst volunteering, all of your standard conditions of employment will continue to apply. While the statutory scheme provides for EVL to be unpaid and provides for volunteers to claim loss of earnings from the government, the University has agreed that staff who take EVL will experience no loss of pay. We will continue to pay employees during their period of leave so that they do not experience any interruption to their earnings. When details of the government’s arrangements for volunteers to claim loss of earnings have been published, the University may require employees taking EVL to claim loss of earnings and make a repayment to the University. Clearly, employees should not profit from volunteering by receiving their normal pay and retaining compensation from the government.

Employees taking EVL will also be able to claim for any travel and subsistence costs payable by the government under the statutory scheme provisions.

Employees have the right to return to their job on the same conditions of employment as applied prior to the period of volunteering leave.

Pension schemes will include a provision so that time spent on EVL is treated for pension purposes (including continued accrual of and calculation of benefits) in the same way as if the employee was working normally. As the University will be paying staff their normal pay whilst on EVL, there will no changes to pension contributions by the University or the employee.

No. The University cannot refuse.

Yes. If an employee has been placed on furlough leave they are still required to notify the employer in writing of their intention to take EVL together with a copy of the EVC.

You should report your sickness to your manager following the standard University processes and to your volunteer placement manager. You will be paid University sick pay from the date your period of volunteering comes to an end.

See question above “What happens to my pay and other conditions of employment while taking EVL?” for the payment arrangements which will apply while you are on EVL.

Your volunteer placement manager will issue you will health and safety instructions you should follow while volunteering. Do not hesitate to contact your volunteer placement manager if you have any questions or concerns about your health and safety while you are undertaking volunteering.

The new statutory provisions for workers to take EVL only apply to arrangements covered by an Emergency Leave Certificate issued by a relevant health or social care authority: they do not relate to any other volunteering activities. However, the University encourages members of the University community to support their local community through volunteer work in your own time if you wish to do so and this does not negatively impact on your work. When volunteering, you should ensure that you follow the government advice on How to Help Safely and follow health and safety instructions issued by the organisation you are volunteering for.

This information is correct at the time of publishing. We will update this guidance with further information when this is released by the government.

Date of this version: 12 May 2020