Volunteer rights and responsibilities

Volunteer rights and responsibilities

Unlike paid staff, volunteers are not covered by awards or work-place agreements.
Volunteers however do have rights, some of which are covered by legislation and some which could be considered as moral obligations by the organisation.
Volunteering Australia promotes the following as the basic rights of a volunteer. Volunteers also have responsibilities to the organisation, its staff and fellow volunteers.

Volunteer rights

Volunteers have the right:
  • to work in a healthy and safe environment (Work Health and Safety Act (WHS) 2011)
  • to be interviewed and engaged in accordance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation
  • to be adequately covered by insurance
  • to be given accurate and truthful information about the organisation for which they are working
  • to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses
  • to be given a copy of the organisation’s volunteer policy and any other policy that affects your work
  • not to fill a position previously held by a paid worker
  • not to do the work of paid staff during industrial disputes
  • to have a job description and agreed working hours
  • to have access to a grievance procedure
  • to be provided with an orientation to the organisation
  • to have confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1988, and
  • to be provided with sufficient training to do the job

Volunteer responsibilities

As a volunteer you need to:
  • be reliable
  • respect confidentiality and privacy
  • carry out the specific tasks defined in the job description
  • adhere to the organisation’s policies and procedures
  • be accountable
  • be committed to the organisation
  • undertake training as requested
  • ask for help and support when they need it
  • give notice before they leave the organisation
  • notify the organisation as soon as possible of absences
  • value and support other team members
  • carry out the work they have agreed to do responsibly and ethically

If you have any questions about volunteering, please contact the Volunteer Unit by emailing volunteer@nswcc.org.au or visiting us on Level 3 at the Woolloomolloo office, 152 Dowling Street.