The recent decision of Grinholz v Football Federation Victoria Inc. has provided much needed clarity surrounding the classification of volunteers’ vis a vis employees.

In this decision, the Fair Work Commission was required to determine whether a coach, who was paid on honorarium was an employee or volunteer for the purposes of an unfair dismissal claim. volunteer or employee

Commissioner Roe considered the following indicia to determine Grinholz’s status:

  1. Employer’s ability to control work hours, location etc.
  2. Individual works solely for employer
  3. Employer advertises goods or services of its business
  4. Employer provides and maintains significant tools
  5. Employer determines what work can be subcontracted or delegated
  6. Employer has the right to suspend or dismiss
  7. Employer deducts income tax
  8. Individual is paid a periodic wage and receives leave entitlements
  9. The work does not involve a profession, trade or distinct calling.
  10. The work of the individual creates goodwill for the business
  11. The individual does not spend a significant portion of their pay on business expenses

Ultimately, the Commission decided that Grinholz was a volunteer because the “essential character of the arrangement is that of a volunteer and not an employee” because “in cases of not-for-profit community organisations where there are many volunteers involved, different considerations will need to be balanced to derive the essential character of the relationship.

Critically, the existence of a volunteer agreement helped persuade the Commission that Grinholz was a volunteer and not an employee.

If you need advice or have questions about the status of volunteers in your not-for profit organisation or wish to discuss volunteer agreements, call or email Adam Foster on (03) 9629 9629.