National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - volunteers and voluntary workers

Volunteers' expenses and the minimum wage


An expense is an outlay of money, which an individual has had to make. In some circumstances, you may wish to reimburse expenses but there is no obligation to do so.

Reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses alone is unlikely to change an individual's status from a volunteer to a worker. Each case would be considered on its individual facts.

You may prefer to reimburse only expenses actually incurred and many volunteers prefer this. If reimbursing estimated expenses, you must be able to explain how you arrived at the level of expenses and be able to justify why this was a reasonable estimate.

Care should always be taken to ensure that the provision of expenses does not suggest that an individual is a worker. Should this happen, a worker would be entitled to the minimum wage unless a specific exemption applied, such as the voluntary worker exemption.