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Staff and Volunteers – Managing the Tension JOANNE O’BRIEN CRH Law Level 10, 193 North Quay Brisbane Qld 4000 P: 07 3236 2900

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Presentation on theme: "Staff and Volunteers – Managing the Tension JOANNE O’BRIEN CRH Law Level 10, 193 North Quay Brisbane Qld 4000 P: 07 3236 2900"— Presentation transcript:

1 Staff and Volunteers – Managing the Tension JOANNE O’BRIEN CRH Law Level 10, 193 North Quay Brisbane Qld 4000 P:

2 Workshop Schedule Background to the issues Scenarios for discussion Develop a Charter of Relationship for Staff & Volunteers

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5 What’s Happening? Challenges facing ‘Civil Society’ –Declining government funding & competitive purchasing of services –Increasing costs of regulatory compliance –GFC & negative impacts on fundraising –Increase in demand for services during economic downturn –Shortage of skilled staff in the sector Deloitte Survey into the Not for Profit Sector 2012

6 The Effect Confidence levels are negative for NFP organisations Those with funding under $250K are least confident Struggling to find good quality employees –Cannot offer attractive wages & career paths In survival mode PwC-CSI Community Index June 2013

7 The Statistics ABS - Participation in voluntary work –1995 – 3.2M or 24% of over 18s –2000 – 4.4M or 32% of over 18s –2006 – 5.2M or 34% of over 18s –2010 – 6.1M or 36% of over 18s The changing nature of volunteering –Virtual volunteering; –Corporate & school volunteer programs;  National Student Volunteer Week 4-10 August 2014 –Growing demand for skilled volunteering

8 The Other Side of the Equation People living longer in retirement & looking for meaningful engagement –In the economy & community Unemployment amongst young people is high Employers look for workers with experience (but not too much) Volunteering provides opportunities for personal development, recreation & expansion of social networks

9 What is Volunteering? Formal volunteering is an activity which takes place through not-for-profit organisations or projects & is undertaken :  To be of benefit to the community & volunteer;  Of the volunteer’s own free will & without coercion;  For no financial payment; and  In designated volunteer positions only. Volunteering Australia Unpaid non compulsory work; that is, time individuals give without pay to activities performed either through an organisation or directly for others outside their own household International Labour Organisation

10 What is Employment? Employment Relationship –Legal link between a person, called the ‘employee’ with another person, called the ‘employer’ to whom she or he provides labour or services under certain conditions in return for remuneration International Labour Organisation Paid Work –Any activity that is undertaken at the direction of an employer & is financially compensable

11 Differences in the “Workplace” EmployeeVolunteer Remuneration (tax & superannuation)Optional: Reimburse expenses, vouchers, honorariums Vicarious liabilityVicarious liability but protected by Civil Liability legislation Work Health & Safety laws Industrial lawsNot Applicable Anti-bullying laws (FWA) Police checks for working with vulnerable people Equal Opportunity & Anti-Discrimination Laws apply Inconsistency across the states Potential Union RepresentationNo Union Representation

12 What Creates Tension? Employees’ Perspective: –Jobs are threatened  concerned they are being:  Displaced; or  Replaced –Volunteers are a burden rather than a help  Don’t have the skills or knowledge for the role –Volunteers aren’t reliable  They don’t have to be here –Difficulty in managing volunteers  Role of the Volunteer Manager

13 What Creates Tension? Volunteers’ Perspective: –Not valued – lack of recognition –No clear management –Lack of engagement/feedback –Participating can involve cost –Lack of relevant training –Desire to volunteer for more than one organisation

14 What Creates Tension Organisational Perspective –How to value volunteer contribution  Is it best measured by hours contributed & dollars saved –Cost of managing volunteers –Cost of protecting volunteers  Insurance –Success of volunteer programs may justify reduced funding  Support for volunteering does not imply support for government downsizing or replacing paid work

15 What about the Board? Most are still volunteers –Highest paid employee reports to volunteers –Volunteer Directors are ultimately responsible –The CEO Director One way to attract experience & quality is to pay Directors –What happens when some are paid & others are not? –Or, some are paid more than others?

16 Scenario 1 Your organisation, Happy Valley Counselling Ltd provides advocacy & support services to 3 rural towns in Happy Valley You & your senior social worker are volunteers for the Rural Fire Brigade It is late October, winter has been very dry & the inevitable happens when a cigarette butt is carelessly thrown from a car window The fire is threatening 2 of the towns & the 3 is inundated with families needing shelter & support The call comes from your brigade unit………….

17 Scenario 2 You are CEO of Urban Renewal Inc, which undertakes rehabilitation of industrial sites & campaigns for action on climate change Green Petroleum Pty Ltd has an office in the same building as Urban Renewal Green Petroleum has obtained drilling permits in a pristine section of reef Its manager contacts you about: –The company’s compulsory employee volunteer program – she has 20 employees who want to work on your project to rehabilitate a petrol station site; & –A cash donation of $200,000 as part of their social responsibility commitment

18 Scenario 3 Your organisation supports women & children affected by family violence Past fund raising efforts have made it possible to purchase a house which is used to provide emergency accommodation You have just been advised by the Department of Families that you will no longer receive funding for support services There is no option but to make staff redundant How do you keep the refuge operating effectively?

19 Scenario 4 You are CEO of Greenacres Care Ltd, an approved provider of residential aged care Greenacres is situated in a rural town & has 85 places In preparation for the 2014 reforms & with the support of the Chair, you recruited a financial guru onto the Board The guru’s time is very valuable & he will be a paid Director For many years the Chair has been paid an honorarium of $800 per year but the other 5 Directors are volunteers & have all been doing it tough as a result of the drought

20 Scenario 5 You have moved into the capital city in your state & taken a position as CEO of a refugee support service The service is located in an inner city suburb The demographics of the suburb are such that there are a lot of retirees with time on their hands & students who attend the nearby university Volunteers are vital to the service & you have been inundated by: –Students with limited life experience who are looking for work experience & a way to express their disapproval of government refugee policies; & –Older Australians of Celtic origins with no foreign language skills Discuss

21 Scenario 6 Having decided city living is not for you, you have moved to a semi-rural idyll on the outskirts of a major regional centre Your new employer provides supports to young people living with a disability For clients who have difficulty controlling aggression, the organisation’s policy requires supports to be delivered by 2 people Funding cuts have meant that the organisation is increasingly reliant on volunteers & has limited training resources Last week, a support worker, Sharon visited John Brown, a 25 year old young man with an acquired brain injury who lives on a farm

22 Scenario 6 (cont’d) Sharon was accompanied by a volunteer; Joe Smith Joe loves poultry and would dearly love to have a rooster but he lives in town & local government by-laws prohibit the keeping of roosters Joe was distracted by the magnificent rooster in the poultry run and while his back was turned, John hit Sharon across the back with a rake causing significant soft tissue damage and lacerations In accordance with your policies, you withdraw services & the client’s family is irate Your workers are refusing to use volunteers for client visits What happens next?

23 Charter of Relationship Set of principles to underpin good relationships Recognise the value of both employees & volunteers Guide the development of more detailed policies & procedures Ideally developed with input from both employees & volunteers

24 Charter of Relationship Where to begin? –Acknowledgement of respect of rights –Reimbursement of expenses for volunteers –Job protection –Principles for determining what activities volunteers will be involved in –How will volunteer contribution be included in grant/funding applications? –Training & development opportunities –Mechanism for resolution of problems –Development of volunteering policies & procedures –What happens during industrial disputes

25 “Volunteering is about the community owning social and economic challenges” “Volunteering is not just someone doing something for free – its about meeting community needs in an organized, coordinated way” “There is a role in defining volunteering but beyond that there are individual stories, and they will be a millionfold” “You can never determine a person’s motivation. (But) We can say that there has to be a choice in whether they volunteer” “..it is a two-way thing. It’s about what the volunteer gives & what the position offers him/her”

26 Thank You / The End JOANNE O’BRIEN CRH Law Level 10, 193 North Quay Brisbane Qld 4000 P:


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