When you become a trustee, you volunteer your services and usually won’t receive payment for your work. Generally, charities can’t pay their trustees for simply being a trustee. Some charities do pay their trustees, however, they can only do so because it is allowed by their governing document, by the Charity Commission or by the courts.
Pay a trustee to do work for the charity
Trustees could be paid for:
- Building work such as plumbing or painting
- Providing specialist services, such as estate agency or computer consultancy
- Offering premises or facilities for occasional use, for example as a meeting room
- Administration or secretarial work
Before paying a trustee, you must have regard to the commission’s guidance on paying trustees for services. It explains how you must:
- Produce a written agreement between the charity and the trustee (or connected person) being paid.
- Specify the exact or maximum amount to be paid
- Make sure the trustee does not take part in decisions made by the trustee board regarding any aspect of the agreement
- Agree the payment is in your charity’s best interests and reasonable for the service provided
- Not allow payments or other benefits to half or more than half of your board – the number of trustees receiving any payment or benefit must be in the minority
- Make sure your charity’s governing document doesn’t prevent you from paying trustees for services
Expenses are for out-of-pocket payments trustees have to make in order to carry out their duties, for example:
- Travel to and from trustee meetings
- Overnight accommodation
- Postage, telephone calls and broadband time for charity work
- Childcare or care of other dependents while attending meetings
Your charity should have a written agreement setting out what is classed as an expense, plus how to claim and approve expenses.
Pay someone who is connected to the charity
If someone is connected to a trustee, they are known as a ‘connected person’. For example:
- A spouse or partner
- A brother or sister-in-law
- Business partner
If a connected person is to be paid or employed by the charity, the trustee or trustees they are connected to must not be involved in any part of the process.
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