Minimum wage: volunteers - Commons Library Standard Note
Overview of legislation and guidance on the application of the National Minimum Wage to voluntary workers.
The question of whether or not voluntary workers qualify for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has proved a difficult one to answer from the outset.
At its simplest, volunteers who receive no money at all for the work they do and who are under no obligation to work for the organisation concerned are not eligible for the NMW because they are not “workers” under the legislation. People who are paid to work for charities or voluntary organisations are eligible for the NMW in just the same way as people who are paid to work for commercial or public sector organisations. However, there is a “grey area” of voluntary workers who are paid expenses or honoraria, but at a level well below the NMW. Although guidance has been issued both by the Department of Business Innovations Skills and by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) on the application of the law to this group, it continues to cause problems.
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