Guidance for Managers: Considering Requests to Volunteer
It is recommended that early discussions take place between yourself and the individual, about their plans to participate in voluntary activities or events.
If the voluntary activity requires a regular commitment, the staff member may request to work flexibly to accommodate their participation.
For example: A staff member may request to start work early to accommodate leaving early to attend their voluntary activity or perform their voluntary duties.
For staff wishing to volunteer for an event/activity, which requires them to be away from work for a full day or more, will be asked to use part of their annual holiday entitlement to accommodate leave for such events.
All volunteering dates must be booked in advanced through the normal procedure for requesting leave and will be subject to approval by the volunteer’s line manager. Volunteers should be encouraged to submit requests for leave as soon as the voluntary dates are confirmed by the organisers.
It is essential, irrespective of the reason for leave, that all requests are considered fairly. Managers are advised to consider all requests with the same principles used for normal annual leave entitlement, based upon the needs of the department.
All requests should be considered fairly and reasonably. Whilst the University will endeavour to agree such requests, as a manager, you are entitled to turn down requests should they be deemed unreasonable or will prevent the demands on the department being met.
- Determine what requests you are able to accommodate, regardless of the reasons for the leave. Be mindful of potential unplanned absence, such as, sickness/ill health.
- Consider the likely demands of the department at this time and the staff/resources needed to meet them.
- Ensure you know the department’s limitations before committing to anything. Realistically, all requests may not be able to be accommodated.
Communicate Early & Often
- Discuss arrangements for all leave requests with your staff at an early opportunity.
- Take time to explain the departmental limitations for requesting leave or informal flexible working arrangements, openly and honestly, to establish realistic expectations of what leave/flexible working arrangements can be accommodated.
- Ensure that you meet regularly with staff to determine whether any agreed flexible working arrangements are still acceptable.
Considering & Agreeing Leave Requests
- Where possible, consider requests at an early opportunity to allow staff time to make alternative arrangements if necessary.
- All requests should be considered fairly and reasonably, applying the same principles used for normal annual leave entitlement and based upon the needs of the department.
- Where requests are unable to be met, provide staff with an honest explanation to why.