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Voluntary Work: Conditions of Employment

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL17904, tabled on 30 September 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend employment legislation to give volunteers in voluntary organisations the same protection rights as those available to paid employees.

Answered on

8 October 2019

In general, employment law (for example through the Employment Rights Act 1996) provides protection to ‘employees’ or ‘workers’. Many volunteers are not employees or workers, and so do not have the same legal status and protections as paid employees or workers. However, depending on the details of the volunteering arrangement, it is possible for volunteers to be workers in some cases. Some guidance on the definition of a worker is provided on the gov.uk website..

The government has consulted on whether volunteers are adequately protected by the protections within the Equality Act 2010, and responses to that consultation are currently being considered.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is also working with charities and the charity regulator to encourage safe cultures within charities that protect volunteers.

The gov.uk website explains what rights a volunteer may have.