In response to the Women and Equalities Select Committee Report back in July 2018 on sexual harassment in the workplace, the Government is looking at a number of initiatives.
Our experienced team of solicitors provide advice on volunteer management and the legal relationship between organisations and volunteers.
Without volunteers, many community organisations would struggle to provide their services and while it may seem that there is no legal relationship with volunteers, it is often not that simple. At Anthony Collins Solicitors we work with community organisations to advise them on all aspects of their volunteer management.
Volunteers are not required to have a contract of employment as they are not legally employed or an employee of an organisation. However, it is imperative that volunteer arrangements are drafted to record and define the relationship between the organisation and the volunteer. A volunteer agreement helps to draw a clear line of distinction between an employee and a volunteer.
There are several circumstances where the line between being a volunteer and an employee can be crossed, such as:
- Volunteers are often reimbursed for expenses and are provided with training to enable them to fulfil their volunteering duties. However, if payments to volunteers become regular or if non-essential training is provided, such payments and training can be interpreted as income and can potentially create a contract.
- If the demands on the volunteer are inflexible and they have an obligation on them to perform duties, this can indicate an employee relationship.
When an organisation crosses these lines they risk leaving themselves vulnerable to claims from volunteers. It is very important that you effectively manage their relationship with volunteers and safeguard yourself from potential claims.
Our volunteer management service
At Anthony Collins Solicitors, we draw on our extensive experience of working within the voluntary and social business sectors to work in partnership with our clients to ensure they are aware of their legal obligations toward volunteers. We can advise on all aspects of volunteer management, including:
- Drafting and implementing volunteer arrangements to clearly outline the relationship between the organisation and the volunteer.
- Volunteer health and safety requirements; ensuring risk assessments are undertaken and that volunteers are aware of the organisation's health and safety policies and procedures.
- Advising on procedures for ensuring appropriate DBS checks are undertaken for volunteers’ working with vulnerable adults or children.
- Drafting and implementing volunteer policies and procedures.
- Drafting and implementing policies and procedures dealing with volunteers’ liabilities for their actions and how volunteer grievances are dealt with.
Our experienced employment team are well placed to advise on volunteer issues. Many have personal experience of volunteering and are trustees of organisations which regularly work with volunteers.
Anna is a partner in the employment and pensions team.
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