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Employees, Volunteers & Trustees

Charity & Not-for-Profit

Charities face the same issues as all other employers with regard to employment law - employee relations, disciplinary issues and compliance with the statutory rights of workers is universal to all employers. However charities sometimes face an additional set of challenges.

The involvement of large numbers of volunteers raises issues around employment status and the requirement for charities to use funds in line with their charitable objectives, may mean that a charity has less freedom to deal with employment problems than employers in the private sector.

HR services

We are experienced in providing advice on all employment law matters to charities including:

  • Disciplinary and performance issues and grievances
  • Statutory rights such as the National Minimum Wage and Working Time Regulations
  • Employment contracts, procedures and policies
  • The employment status of volunteers, interns and consultants
  • Flexible working
  • Staff transfers under the TUPE regulations, collective consultations and redundancy
  • Employment tribunal claims

Charities wishing to merge with another charity or convert to a charitable company may have duties under the TUPE regulations with regard to the transfer of staff from or to the new entity. We are experienced in advising charities with regard to their duties under the TUPE regulations and in managing this process.

Employees & volunteers

The prevalence of volunteers performing work in this sector gives rise to particular concerns for charities. Individuals regarded as volunteers by a charity have in the past successfully asserted claims that they were in fact workers or employees and entitled to the rights which apply to those categories, including the right to receive National Minimum Wage.

The determination of whether an individual is a worker or employee can be a difficult one, as the law in this area is complex. It is also easy for a charity to inadvertently give an individual worker or employee status by the use of poorly drafted volunteering agreement, or by providing a volunteer with benefits or a promise of future employment. We are able to assist charities in this area by advising on employment status and providing suitable policies and procedures for volunteer staff.


The particular duties imposed on them can create issues for Trustees who face employment disputes. The need to balance the duty to protect the charity’s assets and promote its charitable purpose may mean that the resolution of employment disputes through negotiation and settlement agreements may be a less straightforward procedure than it would be in the private sector. We are able to offer advice to Trustees on managing employment disputes, ensuring that Trustees receive the legal advice they need to ensure that the course of action taken in dealing with employment issues is in the best interests of their charity.

For further advice, please contact David Morgan or a member of our Charities and Not-for-Profit team based in Canterbury, Ashford and Herne Bay.

Our Experts

Caroline Armitage

Consultant Solicitor
Corporate, Banking & Finance; Commercial Law

David Morgan

Employment law

Jeremy Burke

Head of Department
Commercial Property

Lesley Rushton

Managing Partner
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

Charlotte Nock

Head of Department
Wills, Tax & Estate Administration

Carl Vincent

Chairman, Head of Department
Employment Law

Paul McAleavey

Employment Law

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