Cost of living

We know that the charities and social enterprises we work with are working hard to support clients through the current economic situation – opening up warm spaces, signposting to grants and benefits, running food banks etc. 

But we have been thinking about staff and volunteers within the sector too, and how the current situation might be impacting on them.   

We’d pose a few queries for reflection: 

  • If you still have staff working from home, is that working for them?  Can they afford to keep warm at home, or would they prefer to be in the office some days?  Are you reimbursing them for additional costs from working from home, and are they claiming home working tax relief (if appropriate)? 
    NB Organisations should check the latest guidance, (which has changed since the relaxation of Covid restrictions), through HMRC or their accountant and ensure staff are aware of the current rules. 
  • If you are considering an additional one-off payment to staff, as opposed to, or in addition to a wage increase, you need to consider the possible negative impact on staff in receipt of benefits – consult with staff before making a decision. 
  • Have your staff wages been increasing in line with inflation?  If not, what can you do to move towards this.   
  • Do your volunteers routinely take up expenses? It could be a good time to remind volunteers that they can claim expenses, and make sure that this is seen as the ‘normal’ option.   

What else could you do to make things easier for your staff and volunteers?  Do you know if any of them are currently struggling – if not, how could you find out?  Can you link any of your staff or volunteers to local organisations who could support them? 


More generally, the sector is not renowned for paying ‘well’ – but low wages are an important issue currently.  How effective can staff be if they are struggling to pay their own bills.  How can the sector work towards paying better – the current economic situation is highlighting this, but there is a longer term issue within the sector to consider.