Secondment agreement: to a charity or voluntary organisation

This is a set of two documents that allow an employer to second an employee to an organisation such as a charity that will pay only the expenses of the secondee. It comprises an amendment to the employment contract of the secondee, and an agreement between the employer and the host organisation.
Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland
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About this document

To second someone to a charity or voluntary work organisation requires two documents, both of which are provided as part of this product.

You will receive both an amendment to the secondee’s employment contract and an agreement between the employer (the "business") and the voluntary organisation (the “host”) setting out the terms of the secondment.

During a secondment to a not-for-profit organisation, the secondee works exclusively for the other organisation, usually for a fixed period. The career benefits usually include foreign travel and working under more challenging (and thus riskier) circumstances than in his or her normal occupation.

The largest issue with these types of arrangement for the business is that he or she continues to carry all the legal obligations relating to the employment, including for the health and safety of the employee, despite not being in control of many of the circumstances in which the secondee will find himself or herself. Thus, the business faces the risk of an application to an employment tribunal resulting from an act or omission by the host, or some accident while the secondee is at work for the host.

This agreement is designed as far as possible to protect the business against failure by the host to comply with both the contract of employment and the general law. It also guards the intellectual property rights of both organisations.

The law in these documents

There is little law regulating secondment, but the legal implications on employment law are huge. It is therefore essential that the business and the host agree the terms of the arrangement in as much detail as possible.

Our agreement has been drawn to include all the common matters of discussion you will need. You can easily add, edit or remove provisions to suit your arrangement.

When to use this document

Our agreement can be used by businesses of any size or in any industry seconding their employees to any not-for-profit. We also have an agreement where the hosting organisation is a business.

Since the business faces most risk, we suggest that it is it that suggests the terms in the first instance.

It is possible to draw a single agreement between all three parties. However, because one agreement may contain terms confidential to only two of the parties we have structured the agreement as two documents.

By listing the terms of the secondment in a separate schedule, you have total flexibility on what work will be done, while ensuring all three parties know what is expected.

Document features and contents

Some of the paragraphs in the agreements deal with similar matters, others are unique to the arrangement between two of the three parties. Together the documents consider practical and legal matters:

Basic practical terms

Confirms the transfer. Along with other matters, it deals with opt-out of the Working Time Regulations and acknowledges that the host has received copies of the contract of employment and policies under which the secondee works.

Identity of the host and negation of employer’s liability for the nature of work

The paragraphs confirm what or who exactly is the host and what is the nature of its business. The secondee accepts that the employer is not responsible if the nature of the work is not as the secondee expects. Additionally, this section deals with access to facilities (including medical care) that might change as a result of the secondment, travel costs and visas.

Terms and termination

Sets out the term of the contract and the conditions under which it can be terminated.

Continuing duty of the employee to the employer

Reminds the secondee that he or she remains an employee of the business throughout the period.

Expenses and changed entitlements

These paragraphs cover how the employee will be reimbursed for expenses, and how his or her benefits and entitlements under the original employment agreement change.

Obligations of the employer and host to each other and to the secondee

This section ensures that the host abides by rights that the employee has under the original contract of employment (so far as they cannot be changed by the secondment) and takes responsibility for the expenses of employment (excluding salary).

Non competition provision to safeguard employer’s business

The business should consider whether there is a chance the employee might leave and work for the host full time, and possibly take staff, customers and knowledge with him or her.

The section covers the very difficult area of non-compete during and after the period of secondment. Despite being not-for-profit, all organisations need income, and there is a possibility that the secondment leads to the business of the original employer being reduced.

Indemnity by host

While the employer remains liable for the wellbeing of the secondee throughout the secondment, this indemnity protects him or her from the cost of failures by the host to comply with the law. It is especially important if the secondee is working in places where local law may not be known.

Intellectual property rights

This section grants the original employer ownership and benefit of any intellectual property that the secondee creates. Of course you can change this to give the benefit to the host.


This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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