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COVID-19 Volunteering and Secondment

Queen’s University Response to COVID-19

Guidance for staff undertaking external volunteering or secondment opportunities

Queen’s University is currently actively engaged in supporting the national and regional response to the COVID-19 crisis. There are already a number of employees who are involved in activities that directly support the fight against coronavirus, including supporting patient care and carrying out COVID-19 related research. We recognise that for the foreseeable future, there will be others who wish to get involved.

Queen’s will support staff who wish to volunteer in their local communities and health services, and also those staff who wish to take up secondments, through the HSC Workforce Appeal, or with organisations who are supporting research and testing efforts.

Please see below volunteering and secondment guidance for staff.

  • Volunteering


    A commitment of time and energy for the benefit of other groups or individuals or the environment, outside of the organisation, which is undertaken freely and without financial gain.

    Guidance for managers and staff

    1. Staff who wish to volunteer and cannot currently undertake the majority of their role from home and have capacity during work time.

    • The request to volunteer during work hours must be discussed and agreed by line manager in first instance and approved by Head of Unit/Head of School ensuring Current Government COVID-19 advice is followed.
    • Staff who agreed with their manager a volunteering arrangement should complete the Staff Volunteering Form.
    • A record of weekly volunteering hours should be maintained by the employee.
    • Ensure “Keeping in Touch” arrangements between the employee and line manager are discussed and agreed. For example it will be necessary to ensure that the volunteering arrangement is sustainable, as at times, there may be a need for staff to support business critical work internally within Queen’s.
    • While the University will support staff involvement in volunteering activities, it cannot accept responsibility for health and safety and insurance while the member of staff is off the premises. Employees must therefore ensure that they are adequately covered and supported by their chosen voluntary organisation.
    • Staff who are volunteering in these circumstances will continue to be paid as normal by Queen’s.

    2. Staff who wish to volunteer and are currently carrying out essential work or fully occupied working from home:

    Volunteering opportunities should be undertaken in your free time outside work and are unpaid.

  • External Secondment


    External secondments are instances when a member of Queen’s staff with the appropriate skills and knowledge (secondee) is temporarily deployed to an external organisation (Company) to fulfil a particular paid role for a specified period of time (which may be extended if required by agreement). While on secondment, the secondee maintains their Queen’s University Terms and Conditions of employment and their continuous service is maintained.

    Secondment opportunities are temporary in nature and secondees retain the right to return to their substantive post at the end of the secondment period.

    For insurance and indemnity purposes, the Company’s insurance policy is required to cover the secondee for any loss, injury and damage caused by or to the secondee.

    Guidance for managers and staff

    • Requests for secondment require line manager approval.
    • Managers should discuss any potential secondment in the first instance with their HR Business Partner (HRBP) and Finance Business Partner (FBP).
    • Queen’s provides the written Secondment Agreement to be signed by all parties before the secondment begins.
    • All parties (Current Employer (Queen’s), External Organisation (Company) and individual (secondee) agree the nature and terms of the secondment in the Secondment Agreement.
    • Ensure any appropriate Health and Safety arrangements are considered.
    • “Keeping in touch” arrangements should be agreed between individual and their Queen’s line manager.
    • HRBPs and FBPs should be involved in agreeing the secondment terms as appropriate, for example, the FBP will be involved in decisions relating to recovering costs from Company, and HRBPs supporting decisions on terms and conditions. They should also be notified of approved arrangements for recording purposes.

    If you have any further queries, please contact: