Organizations should be aware of the risk of an accidental employment contract with volunteers. However, this risk can be minimized by using the best practices described below: PandaTip: Anyone wishing to reach an agreement with a service exchange organization can use this model for voluntary agreement to do so. Simply calling someone a volunteer does not necessarily mean that they have that status, even if the person does not object to it at that time. If you grant income or voluntary benefit or are obliged on your behalf to work with the individual`s obligation to do the work (in legal terminology, ”mandatory counter-reciprocity”), you may find that your ”volunteers” are indeed employed or salaried, with all the legal requirements that this entails. Implementation of a written voluntary agreement can significantly reduce this risk. Volunteers can support invaluable non-profit organizations and organizations should not be deterred from volunteering for fear of creating involuntary legal obligations. Steps can be taken to reduce this risk and ensure that both parties clearly understand the nature of the relationship. Workers and workers are entitled to labour rights as volunteers are not as fair as the right to the National Minimum Wage (NMW), paid leave and protection from discrimination under the Equal Treatment Act 2010. If a volunteer claims to be a successful employee or worker, he or she would be entitled to NMWs, including backdated compensation. They would also have the right to bring, among other things, a discrimination action in the labour court, which could give rise to costly proceedings.
PandaTip: The employment section of this proposal stipulates that the volunteer should not be considered a worker and that, as such, he is not entitled to workers` benefits under the law. Voluntary agreements can be used to demonstrate both an organization`s commitment to its volunteers and what it expects from its volunteers. They serve as a reference for volunteers and remind the organization that it must meet the standards of good practice it has established. Organizations must have a broad duty of care to protect the health and safety of their employees and others who come into contact with their organizations, including contractors, volunteers and members of the public. It would be good practice to ensure that all volunteers are informed of the organization`s health and safety policy and all procedures they should follow. Voluntary organizations/organizations sometimes thank volunteers by donating vouchers or a bottle of wine at the end of their volunteer activity. If these items are modest — basically a token — then there should be no problem. However, if coupons or other gifts are given regularly or if the value is significant, this could jeopardize the volunteer relationship. If a volunteer receives a benefit that goes beyond what would be considered appropriate for a true volunteer, it could omit the organization of a complaint about non-payment of NMW.
The consequences of non-payment of NMW, where it is due, can be serious. Organizations may be required to pay years of additional payments, plus penalties.