COVID-19 - Can furloughed employees volunteer for their charity employer?

The initial furlough guidance was clear that employees could not volunteer for their employers if it was to provide a service or generate income.

This meant that it would not be possible for charity employees to do voluntary work for their charity. The sector, and a number of politicians, were putting pressure on the government to give them an exemption as a further way of supporting charities.

However the Charities Minister, Baroness Barran, has now ruled this out. She said that the furlough scheme was put in place to protect people from redundancy, and relaxing the scheme would potentially put employees at risk of being exploited – so the answer is a very clear no.

Please note that from 1 July 2020 the government is introducing flexible furloughing so that employers can re-engage their employees on a flexible basis.


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