Paying People in Freegle Guidelines: Difference between revisions

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[[category:Policies, Procedures, Remits]]
[[category:Policies, Procedures, Remits]]

Latest revision as of 20:50, 18 August 2022


We are a volunteer organisation, dependent on the goodwill, skills and hard work of hundreds of people across the UK. However, we aren’t a typical organisation, as we operate online and most volunteers work independently within their own communities. Generally there is no standard infrastructure or hierarchy, we try to operate with equality. There are named roles and the Board is appointed and has collective responsibility for Freegle, but these are all, so far, voluntary positions.

The size and complexity of Freegle makes it difficult for it to be run totally by voluntary effort, so realistically we need to find ways to safeguard our service and consider ways to recompense people. Our infrastructure makes it challenging for Freegle to be an employer and have paid positions as it could seem to undermine our ethos of equality and autonomy. This document seeks to put in place some general guidelines on paying people within Freegle.


Freegle is governed by our Rules. Regarding using funds to pay people, Rules 5 and 80 can be summarised as:

  • Funds can be raised and used to pay for running Freegle.
  • Directors and members can be paid relevant expenses.
  • Directors or anyone connected to them cannot be employees.
  • Directors or anyone connected to them can receive remuneration for goods or services as long as they do not authorise or vote on the transaction or decision.
  • Members can be employees and/or receive remuneration for goods or services.


Freegle has agreed it can pay the following expenses Finance Procedures:

4.6 From time to time opportunities arise for Volunteers to attend events and meetings to represent Freegle nationally. Reasonable travel expenses for the Volunteer may be reimbursable if there are sufficient funds and attendance and costs have been agreed in advance with the Board.

We have mechanisms in place to claim expenses retrospectively or via an advance float.

There are legalities around paying people and the possible implications for tax, NI and individual’s benefits. It is important that we only pay expenses that the volunteer has paid themselves. ‘Flat rates’ for expenses or any money over the actual expense could have legal implications for Freegle and the volunteer.


Due to our lack of HR infrastructure at the moment, we can pay people to do work, but it has to be on a ‘delivering a service’ basis. Individuals are responsible for their own tax and other financial affairs as part of the Contract for Services that we commission. That will be made clear in the contract issued by the Freegle Board.

If we are in a position to employ people directly at any time, national minimum wage entitlements apply, as well as regard to any particular project circumstances or restrictions. However, subject to available funding, we will seek to offer remuneration, whether as direct employment or as a Contract for Services, at least in line with a minimum equivalent full time salary for any particular job.

Deciding which work should receive remuneration will be at the Board’s discretion, but will be based on the priorities set for the continuation and development of Freegle and availability of skills and time within the volunteer workforce. Paid opportunities will be advertised within Freegle where practicable. Until we have either a central HR volunteer or can pay for equivalent skills, any advertising for roles is likely to be less formal than in a commercial organisation.

See Contracted Roles for appointed paid roles.


Freegle has limited regular resources, so where possible we will support funding for projects which are compatible with Freegle's goals and provide national benefit to Freegle. All national grant applications will state clearly any:

  • Details of expenses planned to be incurred by volunteers or Members
  • Details of payments for services or goods supplied by Freegle Members

Where such projects involve multiple organisations we would expect any Freegle workers to receive rates comparable to other organisations involved, which will be determined as part of that funding application.


As groups are autonomous, there is ample opportunity for volunteers to raise funds locally as independent applications. Local groups are encouraged to adopt a simple constitution and open their own bank account for the group so they can administer local grants. The Freegle Ltd bank account can be used to enable payments, but only under conditions set out in the Finance Procedures. Any liability regarding the expenditure of locally obtained grants remains with the person/group who applies for the grant, and is not a liability or responsibility on Freegle as a national organisation. Applications to nationally available funding sources should be notified to the Board before submission, in case there is any conflict of interest between a local group and Freegle Ltd. The Local Funding Group can offer advice and support and information can also be found on the wiki page Local Funding.

Links and References: