It’s not unusual to find unpaid employees in the workplace: interns engaged in work shadowing, work experience or youth or adult training programmes, and many charities rely heavily on the work of unpaid volunteers. Despite the fact that these individuals are unpaid and perhaps temporary workers, your business or charity still has a duty of care toward them. Were they to suffer injury or fall ill due to being in your workplace then they would be entitled to compensation, just as any paid employee would be. Charities without the correct cover in place could find themselves having to meet a compensation claim from the charity’s own funds.
Employers Liability Insurance
This is the only business insurance that is required under UK law and it applies even if you employ one person. If a member of your workforce becomes ill or injured while working, this insurance will protect you against any compensation claims that may arise. Any day that you are without a current Employers Liability Insurance policy you could be fined by up to £2,500. You must use an authorized insurer, otherwise, you will be in breach of the law. The Financial Conduct Authority maintains a register of authorized insurers which you can check Online.
This insurance does not mean that you can neglect the health and safety of your volunteers while they are in your employ. If your insurer judges that you have failed to meet your legal responsibilities for health and safety and that this has led to the claim, the policy may entitle the insurer to sue your business, or charity, for the cost of compensation. You must be insured for at least 5 million pounds but in fact most insurers offer cover of 10 million. You must make your volunteer workers aware of this insurance either by displaying it where they can read it easily or by providing them with an electronic copy, failure to do so can incur a fine of up to £1000.
This insurance is not required if your volunteers work exclusively abroad but you should check the requirement of the country in which they are working, however, if they spend fourteen consecutive days in the UK whilst in your employ, you will still require this cover. Keeping a record of all your Employers Liability Insurance is important because diseases triggered by the workplace might occur decades after the initial exposure to their cause.
Key Person Insurance
If someone who is essential to the running of your business or charity is no longer able to work for you, perhaps as a consequence of critical illness or premature death, this insurance will provide compensation to ameliorate the impact on your business. However, it is unlikely that an unpaid worker would hold such a key role in your organization.
Public Liability Insurance
This insurance covers your volunteers should they cause accidental damage or injury to a customer or member of the public. Given that volunteers may frequently be young or inexperienced, though it is not mandatory, this insurance is a wise precaution.
*Remember, it is your responsibility as an employer to check the latest rules and regulations regarding employee insurance.
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