As part of the Synod Insurance Program, a Volunteer Workers Personal Accident policy is maintained. This policy provides fixed-benefit payments to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses (excluding Medicare or Private Health Insurance 'gap' payments, which by law may only be paid by a health insurance scheme) incurred by volunteers who are injured whilst undertaking their volunteer work.
Who is covered?
All Voluntary Clergy and Lay Voluntary workers between 7 years and 85 years of age whilst engaged in:
1) Any Voluntary activity officially organised, authorised, sanctioned or for the benefit of the Policyholder,
2) Any Voluntary activities with associated or joint venture entities.
3) Any person on work experience programs, training, education programs or similar, organised and/or sanctioned by the Policyholder.
In the event of any claim, it will be necessary for the Parish involved to confirm a person was undertaking their duties as an official volunteer, either as part of a Parish roster, designated role or once off occasion or event. For this reason, it is recommended that Parish Council's formally record the names of persons who are involved in specific volunteer activities, and/or maintain a copy of the roster recording same.
For volunteers who are not members of the congregation, Parish Council must still endorse the activity and the volunteer in the same way as its church volunteers for cover to apply. Importantly, whether the volunteers are church members or non church members, the responsibilities of the Parish Council for all its volunteers are the same - to provide a safe working environment (see WHS Frequently Asked Questions) and to ensure Safe Ministry requirements are adhered to.
It is recommended that Parish Councils use their discretion in nominating or sanctioning volunteers for specific church activities in order to reduce the likelihood of incidents and provide a safe working and safe ministry environment. It is particularly important that Parish Council's consider whether a person is physically fit or qualified to undertake some volunteer activities, particularly where this may increase the likelihood of falls or injury, such as heavy gardening, lifting or low level gutter cleaning.
Parishes may be approached by volunteers outside of the church membership who wish to volunteer solely to fulfil Centrelink requirements. Centrelink may require the volunteer to provide evidence that the organisation they volunteer for Volunteer Personal Accident Cover.
As above, for this insurance cover to apply in the event of a volunteer accident, Parish Councils must have already sanctioned the volunteer's role and appointment.
If a volunteer role involves or is likely to involve regular contact with children and/or vulnerable persons, volunteers must complete a Working with Children Check (and/or Vulnerable Person related Employment Check as relevant). Volunteers will need to complete the Diocese's Safe Ministry application form to commence this process.
For a Certificate of Currency for this policy, please contact Ministry & Parish Support at firstname.lastname@example.org