Charities urge Chancellor to allow furloughed charity workers to volunteer for their own organisation

24 April, 2020


More than 60 charity leaders have signed an open letter urging the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to allow furloughed charity workers to volunteer for their own organisation.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), charity workers can volunteer for another organisation but not their own.

The letter, spearheaded by Ed Cervantes-Watson, chief executive of First UK, states that well-meaning rules that aim to avoid employers abusing the CJRS do not work for the charity sector. This is because most are non-profit and mission-focused that serve beneficiaries and not stakeholders.

The letter also states that furloughing the sector’s 827,000 workers risks bringing their critical work to an abrupt halt at a time when it is needed most.

It says: “Charities directly or tangentially linked to the Covid-19 response across all aspects of society (health, education, housing, social care, well-being and others) now face an impossible choice; use financial relief at the expense of reducing charitable operations or; to ‘advance public benefit’ without financial support and risk not surviving.

“This sector-wide dilemma might be likened to funding more nurses and doctors while restricting them from entering hospitals.”

The letter asks the government to:

“Allow furloughed employees of registered charities to undertake work for their charity in a voluntary capacity providing that work continues to advance the public benefit, the employee continues to receive their salary at the same level pre-furlough (i.e topped up to 100% by the charity), and the charity can reasonably demonstrate furlough is required due to financial distress.”

Become a signatory to the letter by emailing: and sign the main petition.

You can also share your support on Twitter using #FurloughForGood.