Statement of volunteer rights and responsibilities

While volunteers are not paid employees they do have basic rights as a member of a volunteering organisation and will have certain responsibilities as a participant in a volunteer program.

Some volunteer rights are specified in legislation and relate to issues like health and safety, equal opportunity, privacy, sexual harassment and discrimination. Others are simply part of an organisation's moral and professional obligations to its volunteers and may include things like:

  • Reimbursement of expenses
  • Provision of a job description
  • Access to training
  • Adequate insurance coverage.

Like your code of practice, a statement of volunteer rights and responsibilities reflects your commitment to supporting and recognising the work of volunteers. It shows you are serious about the important role they play within your organisation.

This doesn't need to take up alot of your time. Use the resources below to tailor a statement to suit your organisation.

Make sure that everyone in your organisation is familiar with your statement of rights and responsibilities for volunteers. You should also give a copy to new and prospective volunteers as part of your recruitment and induction processes.

Tools and resources

International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE) - Universal Declaration of Volunteering
Defines the role of volunteering and the broad rights and responsibilities of volunteers and volunteer organisations. IAVE adopted the declaration in January 2001, the International Year of Volunteers.

Volunteering Australia - Best practice
This section of the Volunteering Australia website lists resources and publications for volunteer coordinators to support your organisation in ensuring best practice is applied in your volunteer program.

Volunteering Victoria - what to expect when you volunteer
Information for volunteers from Victoria's peak body for volunteering about what to expect, and volunteer rights and responsibilities.

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Three female volunteers hug each other - one young, one middle-aged and one older

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