All volunteers are entitled to basic rights when working in a Volunteer Involving Organisation.
As a volunteer you have the right:
- to work in a healthy and safe environment (refer various Occupational Health and Safety Act[s]);
- 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 you are working;
- to be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses;
- to be given a copy of the organisations 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 orientation to the organisation;
- to have your confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the principals of the Privacy Act 1988; and
- to be provided with sufficient training to do your job.
Each Volunteer Involving Organisation will manage volunteers slightly differently. As volunteers are not covered by awards or work-place agreements it is important that you are aware of the organisations policies when you begin your role so that you know how you fit in the organisation.
Just as you have rights, you also have responsibilities as a volunteer.
As a volunteer you have the responsibility to:
- be sure you really want to volunteer
- advise the organisation if you do not wish to continue
- address areas of conflict with the Volunteer Manager
- value and support other team members and the function of the paid staff
- avoid over extending yourself. recognise personal limits and don’t make promises you can’t keep
- welcome supervision and ask for support when you need it
- don’t offer your services unless you believe in the value of what you are doing
- be loyal. Offer suggestions and don’t put down the organisation
- be dependable and reliable. Arrive on time and notify the organisation if you are unavailable
- be willing to learn!
Before you begin volunteering we recommended you check:
- the organisation in not-for-profit;
- the purpose of the organisation matches your own values and beliefs;
- the organisation carries volunteer insurance;
- your role is clear and specific;
- the organisation can provide you with written information about its purpose and activities; and
- you are satisfied that the funds of the organisation are expended in accordance with its mission.
If you would like to know more about volunteer rights and responsibilities, or would like support in ensuring you have the right information when starting a new volunteering role, please feel free to contact us.