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Volunteering during COVID-19 Guidance

The aim of this guideline is to set out our commitment to corporate social responsibility and enable and support staff, where reasonably practicable, to participate in voluntary activities that benefit both the community and public services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the University has been rapidly responding to the crisis to support our staff and students, and to ensure business continuity whilst operating in these unprecedented times.

The University is also part of a wider community within the City of Bradford and is committed to serving and supporting the City wherever possible. Many of our outstanding staff can offer a wide range of knowledge, skills and expertise to this wider community, and so at this difficult time, we would encourage staff to undertake volunteering by providing paid time off work to undertake volunteering duties safely within the current government guidelines.

Version control

Guidance Number: 69
Owner: People & Campus Services
Author: Head of Employee Relations and Wellbeing
Approved by: (no information)
Date of Approval of this Version: (no information) 
Next Review Date: (no information) 
Version Number: 1
Applicable Statutory, Legal or National Best Practice Requirements:
Equality Impact Assessment Completion Date: April 2020
Data Protection Impact Assessment Completion Date: April 2020


Employees of the University of Bradford. This guidance is not applicable to employees that are self-isolating or practicing social distancing for health reasons.

General Principles


The University is committed to the implementation of this policy in accordance with the University values which are:

  • Excellence - excellence is at the heart of everything we do;
  • Inclusion - diversity is a source of strength and must be understood, valued, supported and leveraged;
  • Innovation – we given invention light and celebrate creativity and innovation;
  • Trust – trust is the foundation of our relationships, underpinned by integrity in all we do.

Types of volunteering

Emergency volunteering leave (EVL)

The Coronavirus Act 2020 introduced a new statutory emergency volunteering leave, to support health and social care authorities to continue to be able to provide services whilst under increasing pressure due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

University employees, including agency workers, have the right to take EVL provided that they are in receipt of an “emergency volunteering certificate” from a relevant health or social care authority.  EVCs will be available to those who have suitable medical or social care skills and experience.

EVL can be taken in periods of two, three or four weeks, and only one period of EVL can be taken in any one 16-week volunteering period (however, the Government is able to announce consecutive volunteering periods).

Memorandum of Understanding

The University has committed to a Memorandum of Understanding within the Bradford district, that allows for certain employees to be relocated to other locations to work along side our colleagues in NHS Trusts, CCGs, and Local Authorities as well as in primary, community and social care settings, coordination centres and in people’s homes to provide much needed support during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Separate procedures will apply to any employee who is relocated in line with the Memorandum of Understanding.

NHS Good Samaritans

As health and social care workforces are under increased pressure in providing services during the current covid-19 pandemic the NHS in England has requested volunteers to undertake the following four types of work:

  • Delivering medicines from pharmacies;
  • Driving patients to appointments;
  • Bringing them home from hospital;
  • Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.

Employees can register to become a volunteer at  

Community volunteering

The impact of Covid-19 on communities is huge, and now more than ever there is an increased need for them to join together and provide support to others in need through volunteering in a variety of ways such as working at food banks to provide essential food to those whose incomes have suddenly stopped and delivering food to the elderly and vulnerable who are unable to leave their homes.

Requesting to volunteer

  • Where an employee has received an ‘emergency volunteering certificate’(EVC) they have a statutory entitlement to volunteer from and for the period specified in the EVC. The employee must provide their line manager with no less than 3 working days’ notice of the commencement of their EVL and a copy of the EVC.
  • Where an employee wishes to volunteer and does not have an EVC, during their normal working hours, they must make a request to their line manager and discuss when they would like to undertake volunteering, over what period, where and how they see it working ensuring they are still able to meet their continuing work obligations.
  • The line manager will consider the volunteering request fairly and reasonably and will decide whether the request can be supported. Every effort will be made to support the request, however, if there is a need to reject the request an explanation as to why will be provided. The line manager and employee should keep under review the volunteering arrangement (non EVL) and the line manager may change the volunteering request decision at any time based on the needs of the service. There is no right of appeal against the decision reached.
  • The employee should record the period of volunteering (both EVL or other types of volunteering) in MyView.

Terms and conditions of employment during volunteering

An employee who undertakes volunteering, as described above, during normal working hours will continue to receive all of the terms and conditions of employment which would have applied if the employee had not been absent.  The employee will return to their substantive role at the end of the volunteering period.

USS and LGPS pension accrual are unaffected when undertaking volunteering.


It will be a requirement of any organisation hosting a University employee that they shall take out and maintain in full force with a reputable insurance company adequate insurance cover for any loss, injury and damage caused by or to the employee whilst they are volunteering for the organisation.  For the NHS and other key worker roles, these are likely to be covered by Crown immunity but there is a requirement to check this provision is in place prior to the volunteering commencing.

Expenses and training

Any travel, subsistence or other expenses incurred by the employee whilst volunteering should be claimed from the organisation for which they are volunteering, and not from the University.

Health and safety

Whilst volunteering, the organisation for which the employee is volunteering, will fulfil all duties relating to the employee’s health, safety and welfare as if it was their employer, and will ensure that they are only required to work for such periods and at such times as are permitted by the Working Time Regulations 1998.


The guidance will be uploaded onto HR ServiceNow.

Enforcement of this Guidance and Sanctions

The approval of the guidance will be communicated through Faculty/Directorate senior management meetings.

Line Managers are responsible for raising awareness of all new/updated guidance through their normal Faculty/Directorate communication channels.

The Human Resources Service will work with Faculties/Directorates to identify appropriate provision of training, guidance and support to Line Managers on the implementation of this guidance.

Employees may not participate in volunteering if they do not apply the requirements of this guidance.

Monitoring and Review

The impact of this guidance shall be reviewed through the uptake of volunteering logged onto MyView.

Related Policies and Standards/documentation

  • Memorandum of Understanding (March-July 2020)