Do employers have to pay workers who are on emergency volunteering leave during the coronavirus outbreak?

The emergency volunteering leave (EVL) provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are not in force. This means that emergency volunteering leave is not currently a right available to workers. See Who is entitled to take emergency volunteering leave during the coronavirus outbreak? for more information.

If the relevant provisions come into force, a worker who qualifies can take unpaid emergency volunteering leave. During the leave, the terms and conditions of the worker's contract should continue, with the exception of normal pay. The Government is expected to make payments to workers taking emergency volunteering leave to compensate them for loss of earnings and expenses.

However, given the importance of the work that individuals on emergency volunteering leave will be doing, the employer could choose to continue to pay them.

This is not a blanket right for workers who are carrying out volunteering activities during the coronavirus outbreak to take unpaid leave. It is limited to workers who are provided with an emergency volunteering certificate (EVC) by an appropriate authority (for example NHS body or local council) requiring them for a specified period because they have suitable medical or social care skills.