Employers ‘fail to allow volunteer time for staff’

Employers ‘fail to allow volunteer time for staff’





A new report from the Social Market Foundation indicates it would be difficult to implement the recent proposal by Digby Jones  that firms should withhold pay increases from staff unless they can show they have volunteered for a charity.


Jones, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, put forward the proposal at the Liberal Democrat conference (Third Sector, 22 September).


But the Social Market Foundation’s report, Giving Something Back: Business, Volunteering and Healthy Communities, offers a string of anecdotal evidence that employers seldom give staff time off for voluntary work.


One anonymous contributor, who volunteers for Girlguiding UK, wanted to become a PR adviser for the charity in addition to her initial role as a club ‘Rainbow Unit’ leader. Although she was benefiting by learning new public speaking skills, her employer prevented her from attending the open days.


The report, published last week, cites others who were either refused increased paid holiday allowance for voluntary work or whose company didn’t have a formal policy of encouraging volunteering.


‘These experiences are nothing out of the ordinary,’ said Moussa Haddad, a researcher at the think tank. ‘Lack of time and work commitments are two of the most commonly cited barriers to volunteering. A fifth of people say that work is a direct impediment to engaging with their community.’


Haddad said that the statutory allowance of five days off per year for public duties is not enough.


He recommends the Government reforms such time off along the lines of the ‘right to request’ flexible working regulations that apply to parents of young children. 


Source: Third Sector