The Coronavirus Act 2020 introduces the right for workers to take up to four weeks of leave from work to carry out emergency volunteering in the health and social care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers can take emergency volunteering leave once in each 16-week volunteering period designated by the Government.
The Act states that The Secretary of State must make arrangements for making payments to emergency volunteers by way of compensation for loss of earnings, and for travelling and subsistence.
A person is entitled, in respect of acting as an emergency volunteer, to receive payments by way of compensation in accordance with arrangements made under this section. But a person is entitled to receive payments by way of compensation for loss of earnings only if, in consequence of acting as an emergency volunteer, the person has suffered a loss of earnings that the person would otherwise not have suffered.
The arrangements made under subsection (1) may include:
Conditions that a person must satisfy in order to be entitled to receive payment by way of compensation;
Different provision for different cases;
Provision about the procedure for making a claim;
Provision about how the amount a person is entitled to claim is to be determined;
Provision about the manner in which payments are to be made by the Secretary of State;
Provision specifying limits on the amount that a person is entitled to claim.
Sums required for the payment of compensation in accordance with this section are to be provided by the Secretary of State out of money provided by Parliament. The reference in subsection (1)(b) to payments by way of compensation for subsistence includes a reference to vouchers and other benefits which may be used to pay for subsistence, whether or not their use is subject to any limitations.
Employers may consider encouraging their employees to undertake emergency volunteer work to boost employee moral across their workforce.
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