Charities: The Third Sector

Employment law and HR practices apply to charities and other non-profit voluntary sector organisations in the same way as they do to private businesses. Voluntary sector organisations also have to conduct themselves in the same way as corporations, but often differ from the private sector in that their resources must always be seen to be used efficiently and tend to be scrutinised by donors, other stakeholders and the Charity Commission; their actions are often high profile, so staffing issues, senior management remuneration and relationships with trade unions and government departments can become sensitive; even though there is often a collaborative relationship between management and staff, there are still tensions due to high expectations of staff but lower wages or conditions; and there is often an international angle – involving the management, usually from a UK headquarters, of UK staff and volunteers, local and international in-country staff and international roaming staff that is subject to local and government project funding.

Recent work includes:

  • advising a UK medical-focused charity on how to respond to litigation in-country in south America and Africa
  • advising a UK children-focused charity on the employment aspects of auto-enrolment
  • advising a UK faith-based charity on outsourcing one of its commercial activities to a private sector service provider
  • advising a UK resources-based charity on the remote management in-country of a disciplinary and whistleblowing case
  • advising a global institution on how to avoid liability for litigation due to statutory immunity

Our approach:

Voluntary sector organisations need employment lawyers who are familiar with the sector, as well as with the relationship between domestic and the international staffing arrangements. We work directly with your HR business partners. We do so as closely as if we were on your payroll, but with the impartiality and service level that you should expect as a client. We provide you with an experienced lawyer, who understands your business model, who has worked in your sector, who can see the big picture and understands your issues. You get the advantages of having things dealt with by experts in the field.