The Business of Charities: Employee or Volunteer

The Business of Charities: Employee or Volunteer

Their people are the most important asset of any organisation but especially charities who are very often dependant on volunteers. A big factor in charities looking to expand is how much to continue to rely on volunteers or to recruit paid employees. All charities must remember that volunteers do not have the same employment law rights as employees and charities are not exempt from the requirements of that legislation with employees.

It is vital that charities understand the distinction between an employee and a volunteer. Not just in their day-to-day work but their legal responsibilities. Failing to do so could result in a trip to an employment tribunal as charities cannot seek any different responsibilities just because they are "not for profit".

Having formal agreements with volunteers seems excessive. People volunteer because they want to be involved in a charity and to assist with the objectives of that charity. However unless the distinction between a volunteer and an employee is clearly marked the potential for problems and financial claims are huge... Remember there is no "get out of jail free card" for charities.


For all queries regarding employees or volunteers and their rights including the preparation of employment contracts or volunteer agreements our expert is Nicola Strefford, Head of the Clapham & Collinge Employment Department.

At Clapham & Collinge we pride ourselves on the work that we do with employers including businesses and charities to achieve the best performance from their staff but also to protect employers from future claims. For more information, visit our dedicated webpages on our charity law services and employment law services for charities.

To arrange an appointment or discuss your circumstances in further detail, call 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form. Appointments available at our Norwich, North Walsham, and Sheringham offices.

*This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.

Norfolk's Big Charity Conference 2019

Join us on Wednesday 12th June to explore what the future has in store for the VCSE sector as we address many of the key issues that are likely to affect your charity over the coming years.

This event has been developed to inspire and offer practical solutions to charities needs from a range of local businesses within the professional services industry. During the conference workshops will be delivered by charity specialists from Clapham & Collinge Solicitors, Alan Boswell Group (Insurance Broker and Independent Financial Planners), Larking Gowen (Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors) and Spalding & Co (Chartered Surveyors). Click here to find out more or to book your place.