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Volunteer Agreement

Last revision Last revision 27/01/2024
Formats FormatsWord and PDF
Size Size7 to 10 pages
4 - 3 votes
Fill out the template

Last revisionLast revision: 27/01/2024

FormatsAvailable formats: Word and PDF

SizeSize: 7 to 10 pages

Rating: 4 - 3 votes

Fill out the template

A Volunteer Agreement is a document that can be used by an organisation that wishes to engage volunteers. Many non-profits that undertake community service work rely on volunteers, as their funding can be limited. Some businesses also take volunteers for internships or vocational placements so that the volunteer can learn about the business and industry.

A good Volunteer Agreement should outline the details of the relationship between the parties and should include a release of liability that is acknowledged by the volunteer. It will also include an indemnification provision for each party.

This document should not be used for hiring an employee. It is only valid in the case of volunteer service. For hiring employees, consider using our Employment Agreement, Letter of Offer of Employment, or Remote Work Agreement.

In Australia, organisations may be permitted to engage volunteers for a number of reasons. This may include:

  • to provide services to a non-profit organisation;
  • to give a person experience in a job or industry (such as an unpaid internship or work experience);
  • to test a person's job skills (an unpaid trial).

The Fair Work Commission provides further information. Organisations will need to be careful to make sure they are able to legally engage volunteers. If they do not have a lawful basis which allows them to engage volunteers, then they may be required to treat the person as an employee. This would mean the organisation has to provide minimum employee entitlements such as the minimum wage, superannuation, paid leave, and other similar entitlements as set out in the National Employment Standards. If in doubt, they should seek legal advice.

While volunteering is often a relatively simple arrangement between the organisation and the volunteer, there are some important issues to think about, and for the volunteer to be made aware of. For example:

  • what are the organisation's goals and objectives?
  • what does the organisation expect of volunteers?
  • training - will the volunteer have to undergo any training or induction?
  • reimbursements - although the volunteer does not receive a salary/wage, will they be reimbursed for costs they incur while volunteering (such as travel costs or uniform costs)
  • workplace health and safety - what happens if the volunteer is injured, causes an injury to someone else, or causes some property damage?
  • insurance - is the organisation insured for things that happen to the volunteer, or incidents that the volunteer causes?
  • confidentiality - will the volunteer have access to the organisation's confidential information?
  • intellectual property - what if the volunteer creates intellectual property for the organisation? Who will own it?
  • photos/videos - what if the organisation wants to use the volunteer's image for promotional purposes?
  • workplace policies - will the volunteer have to comply with any policies such as a discrimination policy, social media policy, or drug and alcohol policy?

This Volunteer Agreement addresses many of these issues. However, if in doubt, the parties should seek legal advice.

How to use this document

This document can be used by an organisation that is using volunteers.

Identifying information about the volunteer and the organisation will be entered, as well as the title of the volunteer's role and what specific volunteer services they will be providing. If the organisation wishes to reimburse the volunteer for certain expenses, they can. Then some additional information will be entered, such as the name of the volunteer supervisor and an emergency contact.

When this document is filled out, it should be printed and signed. It can be signed by both the volunteer and the organisation, or by just the volunteer (and not by the organisation). Each party should ideally keep a copy.

Applicable law

Volunteering and Volunteer Agreements in Australia are subject to both federal laws and specific state/territory laws.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Commonwealth) also deals with unpaid work and says whether an employment relationship exists (in which case the organisation would be obliged to pay the worker) or whether the arrangement involves a vocational placement.

Workplace health and safety legislation in each state and territory may also apply to the organisation, even if it is engaging volunteers and not employees. This means the organisation will need to be aware of its obligations under this workplace health and safety legislation, and will need to make sure to comply with it (for example, by providing a safe working environment).

If in doubt, seek legal advice.

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