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Who can be a Volunteer?

Who can be a Volunteer?

A charity will need to be aware of the status of a prospective volunteer, for example, when the volunteer is under 18, is a vulnerable adult, is elderly, is an ex-offender, is from outside the UK, is an asylum seeker or refugee or when they would be doing work that is or has been carried out by any employee of the charity. The charity will need to check in each of these cases whether it is actually possible to take on the individual as a volunteer or whether some limitation might apply in relation to engaging them.

As to volunteers in receipt of state benefits, see the Government’s guidance here but note that there are no limitations on someone working as a volunteer if they are in receipt of either a state retirement pension or certain other pension benefits.

Where an individual wishes to volunteer with a charity but to do so they would need time off from paid work with another organisation, their employer might decide to grant their request to have time off for volunteering. An employer is not obliged to grant such a request since an employee has no statutory right to take off time from a job in order to volunteer. As an exception, an employee does have such a right where their volunteering consists of performing a “public duty” (e.g. trade union duties, sitting as a magistrate, acting as a school governor) since their volunteering will be for an entity which is not a charity.

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