Addressing the pandemic insurance gap for volunteers

  • by Kate Bowman
  • August 26, 2020

Some Palliative Care Volunteer Managers have recently expressed concern about returning their volunteers to service if they are not adequately covered by insurance should they become ill with COVID-19.

This problem has not gone unnoticed by Volunteering Australia who are advocating for a solution to this critical issue.

Volunteering Australia has joined with Justice Connect to call on all Australian governments to ‘have the back’ of Australia’s volunteer workforce in the COVID-19 crisis by overcoming the pandemic insurance gap for volunteers.

Together they have published a Joint Policy Statement outlining their recommendations which suggests they are keen to work with the Governments and explore some low cost options:

  • Expand existing (State-run) Workers Compensation schemes to cover volunteers for out of pocket COVID-19 related illness and expenses. Some emergency volunteers (country fire volunteers, for example) are covered so there is precedent for this approach.
  • Create a Government-backed indemnity or contingent liability fund for COVID-19 payments to volunteers, subject to defined criteria (a cap of $10,000 per volunteer and excluding losses because of wilful disregard of medical directives, for example)
  • Develop a longer-term solution such as a volunteer insurance product that includes certain illnesses.

Click here to read their “Joint policy statement: Addressing the pandemic insurance gap for volunteers.”


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