Almost two thirds of employees do not receive any days off for volunteering

63% of employees in the UK do not receive any days off from their work to volunteer, as found by Perkbox, Europe’s fastest-growing employee experience platform, in a new study of 1,342 people.

Perkbox’s data shows that this figure rises to a staggeringly high amount in certain industries. A huge 75% of those working in Healthcare, Architecture, Engineering and Building industries do not receive any volunteering days from their employers. At the same time, a shockingly low 16% of all workers receive only one day off to volunteer, and just 12% receive more than one day.

When it comes to the industries that do allow volunteering days, Professional Services and Arts & Culture 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. Contrastingly, 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. 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 41% of London workers receiving either one or more CSR days annually. This is followed by the North East, with 35% receiving the same amount. On the other hand, those in Scotland are least likely to be given any days off to volunteer, with 75% of Scots stating that they do not receive any CSR days at all from their work.

The alarmingly 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?

Whilst volunteering policies in workplaces remain somewhat lacking, it’s charities that are missing out the most. Just 11% state that there aren’t any causes at all that they would like to give back to – showing that if more companies offered days to volunteer, they would be utilised, and could, ultimately, make a huge difference in the country. 42% of employed people state that they personally would most like to give back to healthcare charities through a variety of methods, including raising sponsorship money from marathons, 33% would like to give back to their local community and 31% would choose environmental causes.

When it comes to graduates, Perkbox partnered with TalentPool to find what CSR practices job hunters would like to see their next employer involved in. The results reveal that ‘addressing climate change’ (33%) and ‘helping the local community’ (30%) are most important to them, followed by ‘fundraising for charitable causes around the world’ (24%) and ‘driving healthcare initiatives’ (13%). This highlights that CSR policies in the workplace could, in fact, make the difference, not only for current employees, but for potential ones too.

Chieu Cao, Co-founder at Perkbox says:

“It’s clear that workplaces need to be doing more to allow employees to take time and contribute to charities. With already limited personal time, without being given volunteering days, those in full-time positions must fit volunteering into their evenings and weekends, causing them to juggle commitments. This often means that volunteering can fall to the back burner – affecting both social consciousness and society itself.

“By allowing employees to give back to the wider community and the charitable causes that matter to them most, it can fulfill an important sense of purpose and allow people to use their skills in a different way from their day-to-day work, in turn, contributing to overall employee happiness. Companies must look past their own goals to identify the needs of society as a whole, as those with employees who want to help have a real chance to make a change.”