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Our specialist team of solicitors provides support and advice to social enterprises on all aspects of the management of volunteers and the legal relationship between organisations and volunteers.
Without the support of volunteers, many social enterprises would not be able to operate in the way they do. Volunteers assist in a variety of ways, from acting as directors or board members to making the tea, and while it may seem like there is no legal relationship between an organisation and a volunteer, there is and it’s often not simple. One of most important areas of organisational management of volunteers is ensuring a fine line is drawn between employees and volunteers.
While volunteers will not have a contract of employment, they should instead have a volunteer arrangement in place. The purpose of the volunteer arrangement is to record and define the relationship and expectations between a volunteer and a social enterprise and to draw a clear line of distinction between a volunteer and an employee.
There are certain circumstances where the line between being a volunteer and an employee can be easily 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 becomes 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, such that they are obliged to do certain tasks, this can indicate an employee relationship.
If these lines are crossed you might find yourself open to the risk of claims from volunteers. Good management of volunteers is an effective way for your organisation to safeguard yourself from the potential risk of 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 you to ensure you are aware of your legal obligations toward volunteers and can advise on all aspects of organisational management of volunteers, 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 liability for the actions of volunteers and how volunteer grievances are dealt with.
Our experienced team is well-placed to advise on volunteer issues as many have personal experience of volunteering and are board members of organisations which regularly work with volunteers.
Anna is a partner in the employment and pensions team.
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