Furloughed workers will be able to volunteer while they are not in their usual jobs, the government has said, but not at their own charities.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announced by the government earlier this month, will enable employers to claim for 80 per cent of furloughed employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
The scheme enables employers to significantly cut back on staff costs by temporarily suspending employment until workers can return, instead of having to lay them off.
Guidance on the scheme published by HM Revenue & Customs confirms that furloughed employees are able to take part in volunteer work, providing this does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employers.
It means that furloughed employees would be able to volunteer in their communities to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic, subject to the current movement restrictions.
But they could not work free of charge for their own charities.
The government has said that people must generally stay at home, but they are allowed to go out to help vulnerable people.
It has appealed for people to volunteer to help the NHS, to which more than half a million people responded.