Three in five UK employees get no days off to volunteer

Volunteers build a new walkway and garden at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Photo: Fabio De Paola/PA

Three in five employees in the UK get no days off to volunteer, research shows.

In a survey of over 1,300 Brits, 63% told employee experience platform Perkbox their employer does not give them any corporate social responsibility (CSR) days on which to support local projects and charities.

This figure is staggeringly high in certain industries: three-quarters of those working in healthcare, architecture, engineering and building industries do not receive any volunteering days from their employers.

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A shockingly low 16% of all workers receive only one day off to volunteer. Just 12% receive more than one day.

The arts and culture and professional services sectors are most likely to allow employees several days off to contribute to charities. Almost a quarter (24%) in these industries get more than one day off a year for volunteering.

In contrast, those who work in healthcare (8%), retail, catering and leisure (7%), and sales, media and marketing (4%) are the least likely to be given more than one day off to volunteer.

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The retail, catering and leisure industries have been found to be most restrictive to its employees overall, with a meagre 7% of those who work in these industries receiving even just one day off to volunteer in 2019.

When comparing across the country, the capital came out on top. London allows for the most volunteering days, with two in five (41%) of London workers receiving one or more CSR days annually.

This is followed by the north-east, with more than a third (35%) receiving the same amount.

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On the other hand, those in Scotland are least likely to be given any days off to volunteer, with three quarters of Scots saying that they do not receive any CSR days at all from their work.

The low figures of those with volunteering days begs the question, why are workplaces not doing more to allow, and encourage, employees to give back to society?

Two in five (42%) Brits said they would most like to give back to healthcare charities through a variety of methods, including raising sponsorship money from marathons. A third would like to give back to their local community, and 31% would choose environmental causes.

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The research also found that when it comes to graduates, “addressing climate change” (33%) and “helping the local community” (30%), are the two CSR practices they would most like to see their next employer involved in.

“Fundraising for charitable causes around the world” (24%) and “driving healthcare initiatives” (13%) were also mentioned.

This highlights that CSR policies in the workplace could make a difference not only for current employees but potential ones too.