Q1. Why has the University introduced this policy now?
A. UCD seeks to play a leading role in the socio-economic and cultural development of the communities that it serves and to continually animate our Values, in particular those of engagement, integrity and diversity. This policy is part of UCD’s commitment to community engagement. The policy was developed by the UCD Employee Engagement Network, chaired by Professor Joe Carthy and arose from themes highlighted in the 2016 Culture & Engagement Employee Survey.
Q2. From when is the policy applicable?
A. The policy is applicable from the start of the academic year 2018/19.
Q3. Can I retrospectively apply for volunteering activity already undertaken?
A. No, the policy only grants volunteering time for activity agreed and signed-off by your line manager in advance, post 1 September 2018.
Q4. What type of activities are covered by the policy?
A. The policy covers off volunteering activities, usually with a registered charity. Volunteering is defined for this purpose as a commitment of time and energy for the benefit of the employee, the registered charity and its stakeholders. It is undertaken freely and not for additional financial gain. In a limited number of instances an employee may volunteer for an organisation which is not a registered charity, where the organisation is approved by UCD.
Volunteering can take many forms. For example, providing professional expertise for the benefit of a charitable body, acting on a board, carrying out physical activities to support the work of the charity (e.g. painting a school), engaging with patrons of the charity, fundraising raising activities etc.
The following activities are not intended to be covered by the employee volunteering policy:
- Canvassing for a political party or related activities
- Canvassing for a referendum or related activities
- Attending religious observance or related activities
- Participating in a sporting activity as a player
- Perusing a hobby, personal research or individual pursuit
It is important that there is no conflict of interest with university activities arising through volunteering time.
Q5. What is a registered charity
A. A charity is defined as one registered with the charities regulator
Q6. What is a voluntary organisation that may be approved by UCD?
Organisations that may be approved by UCD are organisations who deliver public good but are not registered charities. This provision is aimed to provide flexibility and support community activities outside of registered charities. In the case where the volunteering body is not a registered charity they should:
- Contribute to UCD’s commitment to community development
- Align with UCD’s values
- Enhance employee engagement through their activities
- Provide volunteer training, insurance and meet health and safety requirements, as appropriate
Line managers will consider each case on its merits in terms of how the proposed volunteering activity supports the individual’s personal development and the University’s wider community engagement agenda. Managers should engage with UCD HR when a non-registered charity is being considered (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In both cases, charities and organisations are referred to as host organisations in the UCD volunteering policy.
Q7. How much time may I apply for per year?
A. Typically this can be up to 2 days per year (pro-rata for part-time employees) but may be increased where a specific case is made. In all cases volunteering time is subject to your probationary period being satisfactorily completed, local workload constraints, operational requirements and alignment with University objectives and Values. Your line manager will be the ultimate decision maker in all cases. Volunteering time runs annually (1 Jan. – 31 Dec.) and may not be carried forward from one year to another.
Q 8. I want to volunteer with UCD Volunteers Overseas leading an overseas trip, how much time might I be granted?
A. Those volunteering to lead a UCD Volunteering Overseas trip for students can apply for 10 days or more per assignment. In all cases volunteering time is subject to your probationary period being satisfactorily completed, local workload constraints, operational requirements and alignment with University objectives and Values. Your line manager will be the ultimate decision maker in all cases. Volunteering time runs annually (1 Jan. – 31 Dec.) and may not be carried forward from one year to another.
Q 9. I volunteer for a charity in the evenings and weekends, can I apply under the policy?
A. No, only time approved by your line manager, and taken 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday can be considered for UCD volunteering time.
Q 10. How do I apply for volunteering time?
A. Firstly, you should discuss your desire to apply for volunteering time with your line manager at least 2 months in advance of the proposed date. Following discussions, the Volunteering Application form should be submitted to your line manager at least 1 month prior to the volunteering activity. This facilitates workload planning. You will be responsible for obtaining the information required for the form and ensuring that it is accurate. As part of this process you will need to ensure that the external host organisation provides as appropriate safety equipment, training, safety clothing and effective supervision and must also arrange for Garda Vetting, if required. Approved applications for volunteering time will be held on your personal file.
Q 11. Am I liable for work/activities I undertake for a charity/organisation?
A. You are undertaking a role with the host organisation as a volunteer in your personal capacity and not as an employee or representative of the University. The University gives no warranty as to your suitability for the role/activity or the suitability of the host organisation. The host organisation is also asked to acknowledge this by signing the application form.
Q 12. Am I covered by UCD’s insurance policy while volunteering?
A. UCD will not be liable for any loss or injury associated with volunteering time you take and it is your responsibility to put in place any insurance cover necessarily for your volunteering activity. The host organisation is also asked to acknowledge this by signing the application form.
Q 13. As a line manager how do I record this time and where do I send the approved form?
A. Volunteering time taken should be recorded locally in a similar method to the recording of annual leave. Volunteering time runs annually (1 Jan. – 31 Dec.) and may not be carried from one year to another. Approved application forms must be forwarded by the line manager to UCD HR (email@example.com) where data will be stored for statistical purposes.