Protecting your staff for if their job causes them illness or injury is a must-do legally. It gives back to your volunteers too.
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Where would you be without your staff and volunteers? They put in the time and effort to make sure your charity helps those who need it. So it makes sense to help them out too.
Covering them with charity employers’ liability (EL) insurance is one way to say ‘thanks’. It’s also the right and legal thing to do.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says you have a ‘duty of care’ to anyone under your direction. You’re responsible for their health and safety, in other words.
That’s why, if your charity or not-for-profit has employees, helpers or volunteers, you’re legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance.
It takes care of your workers if they get sick or injured working for you. And it settles the compensation bill if you’re to blame for it.
It’s the law. Not having it could mean getting fined up to £2,500 for each day you were meant to have EL but didn’t. Plus £1,000 for failing to display a valid certificate.
If that’s not a compelling enough reason, imagine all the ways your staff can get hurt working for you. And what can happen afterwards.
Say someone slips down some stairs and can’t work, or they have an allergic reaction to some cakes you’ve brought in. Or they injure their back lifting something heavy.
They can claim against you by alleging your negligence harmed them. Maybe you didn’t put up a ‘wet floor’ sign where it was needed. Or you failed to provide the right safety training.
Whatever the outcome of a claim, EL will cover your legal costs and any compensation you’re liable for, taking care of both you and your employee.
If someone’s working or carrying out tasks for you, under your direction or supervision, they need to be protected for sickness and injuries in the workplace. Regardless of whether they’re being paid or not.
Most EL policies are worded so it’s clear volunteers are treated the same as employees.
The Charity Commission backs this up, stating: “For insurance purposes, charities are advised to treat volunteers in the same way they do their employees.”
It’s essential to check your policy wording to make sure your insurance covers unpaid helpers as well as anyone else on the payroll. Look into age limits and exclusions for certain activities, too.
Read more about employers’ liability insurance for volunteers and why it’s important.
All not-for-profits, however they’re structured or run, need EL. If they have employees, that is (the clue’s in the name).
The HSE defines an employee as someone who works under your direction and/or supervision, whether they’re full-time, part-time, temporary, work experience, a volunteer or an apprentice.
Doesn’t matter how large or small your organisation is. You need EL insurance even if you only have one other person on the payroll. The only exception is if they’re a close family member or they work abroad. But it’s best to check.
If in doubt, take a look at our guide to employers’ liability insurance for charities. It tells you everything you need to know.
Charity employers’ liability is sold along with public liability insurance, which covers you for claims of physical damage to property and people at events, fundraisers and on your own premises. So, slips, trips, falls and other mishaps said to be your fault.
You might also want:
Property and contents insurance covers your equipment and kit if it’s lost, damaged or stolen, including portables like laptops and mobiles.
Cyber insurance pays to get you back on your feet again quickly after a cyber-attack or data breach and helps deal with the fallout.
Trustee indemnity insurance protects your key decision makers (trustees, officers, governors, directors and committee members) from legal claims of wrongdoing or negligence.
Legal expenses insurance covers you for legal disputes around employment, tax, debt recovery and contractual issues.
Have a read of our simple guide to charity insurance for an easily digestible rundown.
Charity employers’ liability and public liability are bought together.
That includes £5m employers’ liability cover for your staff (the minimum amount you need, legally) and £1m of public liability cover.
The cost will vary depending on the number of employees and helpers you have, the level of cover you need, how your charity runs its activities, and much more.
Still, it's a drop in the ocean compared to what you'd pay if you get caught without cover. Try £2,500 per day you were meant to have employers' liability and didn't.
Throw in a claim and you could be facing a triple whammy of fines, legal costs and compensation – yikes.
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