Employment and Immigration Update - Quick fire November 2020


27 November 2020

Guidance on using volunteers and the amended regulations on calculating a week’s pay are covered in this month's Quick fire.

Guidance on using volunteers

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has published new guidance aimed at organisations using the services of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key points in the guidance are as follows.

  • The guidance encourages those who can do so, to volunteer from home. Otherwise, provided they are not clinically vulnerable or required to self-isolate, people can volunteer outside of the home but must follow social distancing and any applicable COVID-secure guidance. 
  • While volunteering, people can meet in groups of any size from different households (indoors or outdoors) but must follow the social distancing guidance.
  • Organisations have a duty of care to volunteers to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. Organisations must assess the risks around volunteering roles and activities, taking steps to keep volunteers safe.
  • Employees who are furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are permitted to volunteer for another employer or organisation, but cannot volunteer during the hours they are on furlough for their own employer or for an organisation linked to or associated with their employer.

Note, the guidance is applicable to volunteering in England only. Separate guidance on volunteering is available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Calculating a week’s pay: regulations amended

Following the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to the end of March 2021, the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Coronavirus, Calculation of a Week’s Pay) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/814) have been amended with effect from 18 November 2020.

These Regulations originally came into force on 31 July 2020, and provided that certain statutory payments, including statutory redundancy and notice pay, should be calculated with reference to a furloughed employee’s normal week’s pay, rather than on the basis of their reduced furlough pay. As a result of this recent amendment, the Regulations will now continue to apply until 31 March 2021, when the CJRS is due to come to an end.

Note that with effect from 1 December 2020, employers can no longer claim under the CJRS in respect of any period of notice served by a furloughed employee. See our separate article on the extended CJRS.

These articles are from the November 2020 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact Liz Stevens or another member of Birketts' Employment Law Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at November 2020.