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Volunteers are enormously important to the charity sector. Their time, energy, and dedication are what allow many organisations to operate. 

For employers, it can be difficult to understand the labour rights that apply to volunteers as they do not have a contract of employment. Volunteers are provided legal protection in many areas and to help you understand your compliance responsibilities and improve your volunteer recruitment strategies, our experienced charity lawyers have put together some key information below.


Health and safety

Employers have a duty to ensure the safety of volunteer workers. 

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 employers must in so far as reasonably practicable, eliminate or minimise the risk to the health and safety of anyone who may be exposed to such a risk. 

This will include volunteers. It is essential, therefore, to undertake appropriate risk assessments and put in place measures to protect volunteers if a risk is identified.


The voluntary agreement

Instead of receiving an employment contract, when you recruit a volunteer it is best practice to provide them with a voluntary agreement. This is a bit like a job description and should set out details regarding volunteers’ rights. If you need legal assistance, you can contact one of our experienced lawyers today!


Expenses and training

Volunteers are not paid, therefore, legislation such as the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 will not apply. If you need them to undergo training or cover expenses related to their work you will need to set out in the voluntary agreement if these will be paid for/reimbursed by you and how and when payment will be made.


Final words

Volunteers provide an enormous contribution to the charitable sector. To ensure you can recruit the best talent for your organisation, have a comprehensive voluntary agreement drawn up that prevents any disputes.

To find out how we can help you with legal matters relating to charities, please contact us today!


Get legal assistance from LawBite

Questions about your volunteers' employment rights? The volunteer employment law can be difficult to navigate. LawBite’s mission is to democratise how SMEs get the expert law they need - easier to access, clearer to understand and much more affordable. We connect you with the best lawyers to give you top-class legal advice. We hope this article has been helpful as an introductory guide to what you need to know regarding the employment rights of volunteers.

Book a free 15-minute consultation with an experienced lawyer today!


Additional useful information

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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