Three-fifths of UK employees do not receive time off to volunteer


More than three-fifths (63%) of UK employees do not receive any paid days off from their employer in order to volunteer, according to research by employee experience organisation Perkbox.

The survey of 1,342 UK individuals also found that 16% of employees receive one day off work per year to complete volunteering projects, while 12% of can take more than one day away from work for corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.

Chieu Cao, co-founder at Perkbox, said: β€œIt’s clear that workplaces need to be doing more to allow employees to take time and contribute to charities. With already limited personal time, without being given volunteering days, those in full-time positions must fit volunteering into their evenings and weekends, causing them to juggle commitments. This often means that volunteering can fall to the back burner, affecting both social consciousness and society itself.”

Broken down by industry, 75% of those in the healthcare, architecture, engineering and building sectors do not receive any volunteering days from their employers. A quarter (24%) of employees within the professional services, arts and culture industries, on the other hand, are able to take more than one day off a year to volunteer.

Individuals working as part of the healthcare sector (8%), retail, catering and leisure industry (7%) and sales, media and marketing roles (4%) are the least likely to be awarded more than one day off for volunteering projects.

Organisations in London facilitate the most volunteering opportunities, with 41% of staff working in the capital being able to take one or more CSR days annually, followed by 35% of those in the North East. At the other end of the scale, 75% of Scottish respondents say they are unable to take any time off work for CSR activities.

Just over two-fifths (42%) of respondents stated that they would use volunteering days to support healthcare charities. A third (33%) would prefer to give back to their local community, while 31% want to support environmental causes. Only 11% of UK employees failed to identify any causes that they would like to help through volunteering.

Working with graduate recruitment organisation TalentPool, Perkbox also discovered what CSR practices are most popular with new job hunters. Results include addressing climate change (33%), helping the local community (30%), fundraising for charitable causes around the world (24%) and driving healthcare initiatives (13%).

Cao added: β€œBy allowing employees to give back to the wider community and the charitable causes that matter to them most, it can fulfill an important sense of purpose and allow people to use their skills in a different way from their day-to-day work, in turn, contributing to overall employee happiness.

β€œ[Organisations] must look past their own goals to identify the needs of society as a whole, as those with employees who want to help have a real chance to make a change.”