Your rights as a volunteer 

As a volunteer you are giving your time, energy and skills to an organisation for free. As a volunteer in New Zealand, you have certain rights: 

  • You should not be used to fill a position that previously belonged to a paid worker 
  • You should be paid back for any out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred on behalf of the organisation 
  • You must be given enough training to do your job 
  • Your work environment must be healthy and safe 
  • Your confidential private information must be protected 
  • You must not be subjected to unlawful discrimination or sexual and racial harassment. 

The right to a healthy and safe work environment

The obligations, duties and rights contained in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) make it clear that everyone has a role to play in ensuring health and safety at work. This fact sheet explains how HSWA applies to volunteers.

WorkSafe volunteer fact sheet

For a range of other factsheets, visit our page on Volunteer-involving organisations and HSWA.

Human Rights Act 1993 applies to volunteers

The Human Rights Act uses a definition of ‘employment’ that includes volunteers.

The Human Rights Act protects people from unlawful discrimination. The Act’s intention is to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in key areas of life, including employment, and this includes the recruitment of volunteers. The Human Rights Act uses a definition of ‘employment’ that includes volunteers.

Go to fact sheet

Contact the Human Rights Commission, or view the entire Human Rights Act 1993