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16 August 2017

Employers Liability for Charities & Non-Profits

Employers liability insurance (EL) is a legal requirement for those organisations who employ people. The HSE has the power to impose a hefty £2,500 fine for each day you don’t have EL in place, when you are legally required to do so.

If you have employees: you need EL cover. But actually the situation is slightly more complex than this. Most insurers provide a definition of who they consider to be an ‘employee’ for the purposes of insurance. Take this definition provided by a specialist charity insurer:

An employee is any person:
– under a contract of service or apprenticeship with you
– who is hired to, supplied to or borrowed by you
– engaged under a work experience or similar scheme
– helping as an authorised volunteer
– who is a trustee or director of yours
– who is a labour only sub-contractor
– who is a self-employed person
all while under your direct control and supervision and working for you in connection with your activities

So regardless of whether your staff are paid employees, unpaid volunteers or voluntary trustees, it is likely they all will be viewed as ‘employees’ by your insurer.

Insurers exclude claims from ‘employees’ under their Public Liability section of cover so it’s vital you take this into account when arranging insurance. In these instances a claim made by an authorised volunteer or a trustee would only be covered if the organisation had employers liability insurance.

Sadly volunteers do suffer injuries as a result of negligence on the part of the organisation for whom they are volunteering. Whether it be a ‘slip or trip’ type injury or a more complex injury – volunteers are at risk, just as employees are.

We advise each of our non-profit clients to seriously consider purchasing EL cover. If EL cover is not taken up and a volunteer is injured the cost of the claim may need to be met by the organisation, its trustees or committee members.

We are able to offer specific advice to charitable organisations as to how their employees, volunteers and trustees can be adequately protected.

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