The government has said it will "publish in due course" proposals to give the employees of large companies up to three days’ leave to volunteer after reports said the measure had been shelved.
The Financial Times newspaper this morning reported that the plans, which formed part of the Conservative manifesto for last month’s general election, were being "quietly shelved, to the relief of some business leaders".
The plans, which would apply to all public sector workers and the employees of companies with more than 250 staff, would affect about 15 million employees and create an estimated 360 million extra volunteering hours a year.
The Queen’s speech, which reveals the legislation that the government intends to introduce to parliament over the next 12-month parliamentary session, made no mention of a bill to introduce the measure.
The FT quoted different views on the measure, including that of Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, who said the proposal was "heavy-handed government intervention that undermined the Tory record on reducing business regulation".
A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, told Third Sector: "At the moment the only update we have is that the proposals will be published in due course."
She said it was early days for the new government and that the idea had not been ruled out.
Alison Seabrooke, chief executive of the Community Development Foundation, issued a statement calling on the government to press ahead with the volunteering plans.
"Our research shows that policies to encourage volunteering would be a big step in the right direction towards increasing community and voluntary activity, which plays a huge role in sparking political engagement," she said.