acas – Holiday and leave during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Holidays & Leave during Coronavirus: As the weather starts to change and (hopefully) we get some sunshine, staff may be turning to you to request booking leave or even carrying leave over.

In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday (‘statutory annual leave’) in their current leave year. This is 5.6 weeks in the UK.

This is important because taking holiday helps people:

  • get enough rest
  • keep healthy, both physically and mental

Click here for further guidance.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 30 June 2021.

From 1 July 2021, the level of grant will be reduced and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant you must continue to pay your furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.

Click here to find out more on the Charity Tax Group website

NHS – 11 tips to cope with anxiety about coming out of lockdown

Easing of lockdown will allow us to get back to the people and things we love, but it’s OK if you feel worried about going back to something more “normal” as lockdown restrictions loosen.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been hard for us all and we have all experienced the effects differently, including those of us who have been shielding.

Even positive change can lead to anxiety, and it can take time to readjust to things we have not done for a while.

Feelings of post-lockdown anxiety are likely to pass with time as we get used to the “new normal” but it’s important to do what we can to take care of our mental health.

There are lots of things that can help you to manage these feelings and make it easier to adjust.

Click here for the NHS top tips for taking care of your mental health as things change.

Government launches new pilots to further support people to self-

Published 24th May

The government is to launch 9 trailblazing pilots in England to test new, creative ways to help ensure people stick to self-isolation rules in areas with higher prevalence of infection including from new variants.

In partnership with local authorities, the government is backing the pilots with £12 million which will be used for a range of initiatives including providing alternative accommodation for people in overcrowded households, social care support such as increasing existing social care support for vulnerable adults and providing ‘buddying’ services for people whose mental health has been affected by lockdown and the variant outbreaks, and language communications support for individuals where English isn’t their first language. These pilots are designed to encourage people most at risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19 to come forward for testing and to self-isolate successfully if they test positive.

The areas that will receive funding for these pilots are: Newham; Yorkshire and Humber; Lancashire, Blackburn & Darwen, Blackpool; Greater Manchester; Cheshire and Merseyside; Royal Borough of Kingston; Hackney; Peterborough, Fenland and South Holland, and Somerset.

For more information go to the Government website

Comparing COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule Combinations – Com-COV2

University of Oxford:

What is the purpose of this research study?

There are now a number of vaccines in the UK that have been approved to prevent COVID-19, and others are expected to be approved in the near future. These use two-doses, a ‘prime’ first dose, followed by a ‘boost’ second dose some weeks later. The purpose of this trial is to see how well people’s immune systems respond when their second “boost” dose is a different type of vaccine to their first “prime” dose. We will also be looking at how common vaccine reactions, such as fever, are after such ‘mixed’ schedules. This is important, as being able to use different vaccines in this way creates a more flexible immunisation programme; potentially allowing more people to be immunised more quickly.

In this study we will be enrolling men and women aged 50 years and over who have already had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. We are enrolling from all ethnicities and would particularly welcome participants from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.

Click here for the full study.

Step 3 of the roadmap – GOV.UK updates


As you will have seen this week, the Prime Minister announced plans to proceed with Step 3 of the Spring 2021 Roadmap on 17 May. Based on available data, we have passed the four tests set out in the roadmap. This means that, as of 17 May, we will be able to take the next careful step towards opening our economy and easing restrictions. 

  • The limit for outdoor gatherings will be increased to 30 people. People from different households will be able to meet socially inside for the first time this year, in groups of up to 6 people or two households.
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules with people asked to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19. 
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions will reopen, as will indoor hospitality. The requirement to order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’) will remain.
  • Remaining accommodation such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs will reopen and overnight stays within England will be allowed for groups of up to six people or two households.
  • Organised indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will resume.
  • Weddings, receptions and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees outdoors or in a COVID-Secure indoor venue. Other significant life events such as christenings or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs can be attended by a maximum of 30      people. We also announced on 3 May that the number of people who can attend a funeral will depend on how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. 
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment will reopen.
  • Remaining University students can resume in-person teaching and learning.
  • Some large events, including conferences, theatre and concert performances and sports events will be able to resume. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type.

Click here for the full information.

Lasting Connections – Emergencies Partnership Covid-19 Impact Report 2020-2021

The VCS Emergencies Partnership have launched their impact report – ‘Lasting Connections’.

The Emergencies Partnership was created in 2018, following the experience of the Grenfell Tower fire, 2017 terror attacks, and rural flooding across the country. Their purpose is to build greater national resilience and a better experience for people impacted by emergencies, by making best use of resources across the voluntary and community sector.

You can access the impact report here.

Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19

Nottingham Trent University have published data you can view which is the most recent insights from the study in our ‘Respond, recover, reset: the voluntary sector and COVID-19 – April 2021’ report.

Also included is a Barometer Dashboard; which grants a real-time overview of the health of the Sector, and where organisations stand.

Click here for further information.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Public fundraising guidance

Fundraising Regulator have published the following guidance which is part of a series of resources produced by the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising that aims to support charities and other fundraising organisations to be able to return to fundraising activities in a responsible way.

By responsible fundraising, they mean that fundraising is carried out in a sensitive and safe way, in-line with the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code) and current UK Government advice on Coronavirus. See guidance from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Click here for more information.

Staying COVID-secure notice

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport have promotional material notice to display to show you have made your workplace COVID-secure.

Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should display the above notice in your workplace to show that you have complied with the guidance on managing the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Click here for the display.