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Top tips on the legalities of engaging volunteers

December 2013

For many volunteers, the very essence of voluntary work is the flexibility. It is often that freedom that allows volunteers the luxury to help out their chosen organisation in the precious time that they have to spare. Equally, and it is often remarked that, many charities and social enterprises would flounder or fail without the armies of volunteers willing to help out in those sectors.

For these reasons, volunteers rarely claim employment or worker rights (such as the discrimination claim in the case opposite) since they don't want the restrictions that employment or other contracted work entails.

Organisations who accept voluntary help must be aware of the need for a structured environment for volunteers regardless of the informal approach that is commonly applied to voluntary work as compared to, say, employed work. Volunteers are often working alongside employees carrying out similar tasks in similar environments. Accordingly the rules on data processing, occupiers' liability, health and safety, immigration, protecting children and vulnerable adults, equality, respect and many other legal and regulatory safeguards apply to volunteers equally as they do to employees.

At Wrigleys, we are increasingly advising clients on this area and providing resources such as Volunteer Policies, Volunteer Arrangements and other general policies aimed at volunteers specifically rather than applying existing policies and agreements that are more appropriately aimed at employees or workers.

Further details

If you have any queries about the impact of the Act please do not hesitate to contact the Employment team at Wrigleys on 0113 204 1111

Sue King View Biography

Sue King


20 Aug 2019

Mutual Home Ownership Societies (MHOS): the next phase

We are very pleased to announce that we are working on proposals to develop low cost homes in York, with Yorspace and Lowfield Green Housing Co-op.

19 Aug 2019

Was an employer vicariously liable for workplace harassment via social media?

EAT provides useful guidance on a developing area of potential liability for employers.

14 Aug 2019

Changes to Companies House register help protect health and safety of individuals by restricting public access to personal information

This is helpful for persons who may be at risk of personal threat of harm because of their public profile or sensitive occupation.