Volunteers normally carry out unpaid work for charities, voluntary organisations or fundraising bodies. Volunteers are generally not considered to be employees or workers and usually will have a role description rather than a job description. However, their employment status is determined not by their designation as ‘volunteers' but instead by a range of factors, including:
- Is the volunteer under direct supervision and do they need to complete work in a given place during set times?
- Is the volunteer allowed to work for other organisations?
- Is the volunteer obliged to accept work?
- Are materials, equipment and tools supplied by the volunteer or the business?
- Is the volunteer paid any money?
To minimise the potential for any confusion about the status of a volunteer, it is a good idea to have a volunteering agreement in place.
For further information about the legal status of volunteers, see the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).