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Top tips on the legalities of engaging volunteers

19 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

Partner
Leeds

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