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Developing HR Policies For Volunteers

hr policies for volunteers

At times, when managing a team of volunteers, certain individuals may need to be removed from their role. A policy outlining procedures for dismissing volunteers can help organizations protect themselves against claims of negligence or misconduct by volunteers.

University volunteers do not hold employment relationships with the university and therefore do not qualify for benefits.

1. Training

Employee volunteer policies are an excellent way for companies to communicate their values and influence in the community. A comprehensive employee volunteer policy also helps ensure all employees, including volunteers, understand what is expected from them and helps reduce potential mishaps or legal issues that could result from lack of training or unregulated work.

An effective volunteer policy must include an introduction that details its purpose and benefits for both employees and volunteers alike. Furthermore, this section should detail how volunteering helps employees develop leadership skills while offering career-building experiences. To set expectations with employees regarding volunteering programs, include a volunteer description policy with parameters outlining which actions could cause someone to be removed as volunteers.

As part of an effort to reduce overlap in policies related to safety issues, it is recommended that separate volunteer manuals for employees and volunteers are created in order to prevent conflicts arising between positions containing both paid jobs and uncompensated volunteer roles within SAP. An employee should not be permitted to hold both types of roles simultaneously.

2. Orientation

Volunteer policies provide an essential way of setting guidelines and expectations for employee volunteers at companies. By aligning employee volunteers with corporate social responsibility objectives and showing support from management, this policy encourages employees to contribute meaningfully through volunteerism. A clear policy also gives employees confidence that volunteering their efforts is supported by their organization.

Volunteers may not receive wages or benefits from the organization they volunteer for; however, employment laws still apply and organizations that fail to follow them run the risk of being investigated by their country’s Department of Labor (or equivalent agency) and lose any support they had previously given for volunteering efforts.

An effective screening policy is essential to recruiting the highest quality volunteers. This document should outline how volunteers will be screened, its importance to your company and when volunteers will be dismissed from participating. An evaluation policy also offers valuable insight into whether volunteers are contributing towards reaching organizational goals; its framework can help identify any opportunities for improvement.

3. Health and Safety

Many large organisations rely heavily on volunteers to keep operations and services going, just as employees do. Like employees, volunteers should remain safe if exposed to potentially risky work activities or environments – such as operating machinery and working with children.

Employers should conduct risk analyses of their operations to ensure the wellbeing of workers, with special consideration paid to any hazards that could cause harm, the probability of their occurring and whether safeguards in place are sufficient to address them.

Where risks are identified, organizations should take appropriate actions and record their outcomes. Any employer offering volunteer time to staff should also create a separate health and safety policy specifically for these volunteers as this would demonstrate that their organisation takes their safety seriously. It’s generally considered unadvisable to combine paid and volunteer policies into one handbook or manual, making a dedicated document more important in helping avoid misunderstandings and prevent conflicts of information.

4. Discipline

Disciplining volunteers is more difficult than disciplining employees; however, you should still outline clear discipline and termination policies in your volunteer program orientation to make sure volunteers understand they could face discipline if they do not fulfill company expectations and standards.

If it becomes necessary to enforce your disciplinary policy against a volunteer, always attempt to resolve it informally first. An informal conversation or counselling session could help correct their behavior without resorting to your formal policy.

Notably, when using the same disciplinary procedure for volunteers as for employees, legal issues may arise as employees can access rights and protections not applicable to volunteers; such as holiday pay and minimum wages. By creating a separate policy for your volunteer program you can reduce these risks.

5. Dismissal

Unintentional volunteers may not always be the right fit for an organization, as they can lose interest, refuse to adhere to procedures, or engage in inappropriate behaviors that pose risks for staff and clients. By having appropriate policies in place, dismissal of such volunteers becomes easier with minimal disruption and time loss.

An example policy would include language such as: All company equipment, including but not limited to computer systems and information, is owned by Company and may be inspected at any time.” Additionally, such policies might restrict e-mail use for spamming (unwanted messages sent without consent) or “spoofing” (sending an e-mail from another server than its recipient).

Additionally, it should stipulate that volunteers’ job performance and conduct are reviewed periodically and any violation of their volunteer agreement constitutes grounds for dismissal. It could include language stating: “No employee or volunteer may be harassed based on race, religion, age, sexual orientation national origin disability. If harassment occurs a volunteer should have the option to file a grievance with their supervisor.”

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