Bring back volunteering leave scheme to help booster rollout

The Liberal Democrats have demanded the government urgently introduce an Emergency Volunteering Leave scheme, to allow people to take paid time off work to help with the booster rollout and support the NHS over the Christmas period.

The proposed scheme would allow people to take between two and four weeks of unpaid leave to help with the vaccine rollout, taking on roles such as vaccinators, stewards and administrative staff. The Government would have to compensate volunteers for loss of earnings and other expenses, such as travel and food.

A law that would have enabled an Emergency Volunteering Leave scheme was scrapped by the government in July 2021, after ministers claimed there was “sufficient current supply of staff and volunteers in the health and care system.” The Liberal Democrats said it was “baffling” that the plans were previously ditched as they could have been used to help speed up the vaccine booster rollout, protect against the Omicron variant and address chronic staffing shortages in the NHS.

Last week the NHS said it needs 40,000 volunteers for roles such as admin support and stewards, while vaccination centres say they are desperate for staff. Meanwhile, the British Medical Association has warned there could be up to 50,000 staff absences in the NHS by Christmas.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding that the government recall a virtual Parliament and introduce legislation allowing Emergency Volunteering Leave, so that more people around the country can help with the national effort to get everyone boosted in the coming weeks.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said: “We are in the race of our lives to get people jabbed and turn the tide against Omicron, while the NHS is facing catastrophic staffing shortages.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey

“It is baffling that the Government decided to scrap these plans that could have helped speed up the booster rollout.

“There is no time to waste. Boris Johnson must bring back Parliament and introduce an Emergency Volunteering Leave scheme.

“This would help people play their part in the booster rollout and take pressure off the NHS at this critical time.”

Published and promoted by Oldham Liberal Democrats, Booth House, Featherstall Road South, Oldham OL9 7TU. If you enter your details on this website, the Liberal Democrats, locally and nationally, may use information in it, including your political views, to further our objectives, share it with our elected representatives and/or contact you in future using any of the means provided. Some contacts may be automated. You may opt out of some or all contacts or exercise your other legal rights by contacting us. Further details are in our Privacy Policy at