Although as an Adopt Change volunteer you work without financial remuneration, you still have rights.
The organisation has the responsibility of providing for you a safe work environment and the opportunity for you to be fulfilled in your work. The following are some of your rights:
- A clear project and/or role description
- Induction, orientation and on the job training as necessary for your role
- The opportunity to develop skills and learn new ones
- Fair treatment and to be respected
- Support and to be listened to
- Respect for your privacy, including keeping your private information confidential
- Safe working environment; adequate tools and equipment
- A supervisor, so that you have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback
- Insurance protection for the volunteer duties you are authorised to perform
- Be provided information about Adopt Change and the My Forever Family NSW program
- Ongoing training and updating of information
- Not to be exploited
- Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses when agreed and approved by My Forever Family NSW (Adopt Change)
- Have service appropriately assessed and recognised. Reference upon satisfactory completion of work.
Adopt Change has the right to expect a reliable volunteer who will respect the organisation, the My Forever Family NSW program aims and objectives and adhere to its policies and procedures. Here are some of the responsibilities and professional conduct expected of a volunteer:
- To understand and follow policy and procedural guidelines, including work health and safety requirements
- Undertake required induction and other training
- Take the role seriously, operate with integrity and behave responsibly, appropriately and courteously to all carers and their families, My Forever Family and government agency staff, other stakeholders and the public in the course of your role
- Consider and respect the diverse background and needs of carers and their families
- Be open and honest in your dealings with My Forever Family and let us know if we can improve our volunteer program and the support that you receive
- Only undertake duties you are authorised to perform, operate under the direction and supervision of nominated staff and obey reasonable directions and instructions
- Complete the agreed tasks and work to the highest possible standards
- Respect matters of privacy and confidentiality
- Be punctual and reliable – to contact with as much notice as possible if unable to attend or become unavailable
- Let us know if you wish to change the nature of your contribution to My Forever Family (for example, hours or role) at any time
- Use any property or equipment given to you in your role safely and only for the purpose of the role, and return it to My Forever Family when you finish your volunteer role
- Not to endeavour to represent My Forever Family NSW or Adopt Change outside of an agreed scope of work
- Report suspected fraud or other behaviour that is unethical within the organisation, against organisational policy or procedures or the Child Safety and Wellbeing Code of Conduct
- Adhere to the Child Safety and Wellbeing Code of Conduct and promote a child safe culture in your role
- Report suspected child neglect or abuse to your manager/supervisor and to the Child Protection Helpline on 13 21 11.
3. Protection of volunteers in community organisations
In New South Wales there are laws that protect volunteers in community organisations from civil liability (that is, legal action like a negligence claim) in specific circumstances. We will explain more about these laws in your induction. However, one of the key factors in ensuring you are protected is that you are performing voluntary community work that is directed or supervised by an incorporated community organisation or performing voluntary community work as an office holder of an incorporated community organisation. It is therefore important that you only perform the tasks in the role description and as instructed by the organisation. To be covered by these laws it is also important that you are not affected by drugs or alcohol when you are volunteering.
If you are unsure whether a particular task or work is authorised, please do not hesitate to talk to the contact person.
4. The health and safety of you and others
At My Forever Family NSW, volunteer safety, and the safety of everyone who is involved in our organisation, is a priority.
In New South Wales, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (WHS Act) applies to many volunteers because all organisations that engage workers on a paid basis can owe WHS duties to everyone in the organisation, including volunteers. There may be other legal actions (such as negligence claims) that mean we always need to consider work health and safety issues and contribute to a safe and healthy workplace.
Under the WHS Act and other laws, My Forever Family NSW has a duty of care to minimise risks to everyone affected by its conduct (including paid employees and volunteers).
As a volunteer, you have WHS duties too. These include:
- taking reasonable care for your own health and safety
- taking reasonable care for the health and safety of others
- complying with reasonable instructions by My Forever Family NSW
- letting My Forever Family NSW know of any concerns that you may have about safety and / or fitness in undertaking your role
- cooperating with policies and procedures of My Forever Family NSW.
We will provide you with a full induction and role training when you commence as a volunteer with My Forever Family. However, please do not hesitate to talk to your contact officer at any time if you have any health and safety concerns.
5. Child safety and wellbeing in My Forever Family NSW
In addition to the rights and responsibilities, health and safety and expectations of professional behaviour outlined above, My Forever Family NSW is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people who, through their carers, come into contact with paid and unpaid staff, including board members and volunteers of My Forever Family NSW in the course of its work. This may include:
- carer support groups and forums
- speaking engagements and conferences
- annual carer picnic and related events.
A Child Safety and Wellbeing Code of Conduct is included in this information pack. This outlines the expected behaviours from all members of the organisation, staff and volunteers, and behaviours that are unacceptable when interacting with children and young people. It covers conduct in both physical and online environments.
6. Induction and training required before you start in the volunteer role
My Forever Family NSW is committed to providing suitable training in support of our health and safety, discrimination and privacy policies. For this reason it is our policy that all volunteers undertake induction and /or training at My Forever Family prior to commencing their volunteer position.
7. Information we require before you can start in the volunteer role
8. Volunteer expenses and other benefits
As a volunteer, My Forever Family NSW will provide you with reimbursement for any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses that you incur when performing authorised tasks associated with your role. We do this to ensure that you are not financially disadvantaged as a result of your volunteer position with us. These payments are not remuneration or wages. You will need prior approval and will always need to produce receipts.
We will sometimes provide you with other benefits as part of your volunteering role (examples include training, free food, accommodation, event entry, clothing or equipment). Where this occurs, it is on a gratuitous basis at the discretion of My Forever Family and is not payment in lieu of salary.
We are committed to providing adequate insurance cover for volunteers while carrying out their volunteer roles that have been approved and authorised by us.
My Forever Family has the following insurances:
- Workers Compensation
- Public liability insurance
- Professional indemnity.
To ensure this insurance covers you for any incidents that occur while you are volunteering with us, you need to report an incident as soon as it has occurred.
The following events are not covered by our insurance:
- actions that are beyond the scope of your volunteer role, or that occur without appropriate authority or permission from us
- criminal activity (including criminal charges arising out of driving incidents), and
- dishonest or reckless activities.