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Employer advice

“You can take the skills you learn back into your career.”

The benefits of supporting your employees to volunteer as magistrates.

Employer advice

To help you support your employees in becoming magistrates, we’ve compiled some information to help you understand:

  • how allowing your employee to volunteer as a magistrate can benefit your organisation
  • your responsibilities as an employer.

How much time do they need to commit?

Magistrates need to volunteer for at least 13 days a year during working hours, for a minimum of five years. There are also some training days, but some of these can be done at weekends.

What are my responsibilities as an employer?

Employers are legally obliged to allow time off work for employees to volunteer in a public role like magistrates, but how many days they allow is at their own discretion, as is the decision about whether any time off is offered as paid or unpaid leave. Many employers choose to offer at least some of this time as paid leave.

For us, having a magistrate as an employee was a win-win. Not only were we able to support a highly motivated, self-starter to progress with his own life-goals – which we know as a company aids staff retention – but, in supporting our employee, we were also able to demonstrably deliver social value and be part of something that gives back to society.
Marcia La-Rose, Head of HR, Four Communications

Things to consider when having magistrates in my team 

Boost job satisfaction

When employees volunteer in a role that enables them to make a difference to the local community beyond their day-to-day role, it can enhance their job satisfaction and give them an even greater sense of pride in working for you. This can help you to retain talented people, and to build a strong pipeline of future leaders with a breadth and depth of skills.

Developing employee skillsets

Magistrates receive excellent training covering a range of transferrable skills, from critical analysis and problem solving to influencing others and decision making. 

Attracting new talent to your organisation

The chance to give back through volunteering is often high on candidate wish lists when looking at a potential new employer. Supporting people to volunteer as magistrates is a great way of showcasing your commitment to employee volunteering. It will also enable you to highlight your values, and your focus on personal and professional development.

The GLA provides paid time off for public duties – up to 5 days per year for magistrates. We also offer up to 3 days of volunteering leave and flexible working arrangements, such as compressed hours, which could support individuals to take on ongoing public duties or other voluntary roles outside of work.
Charmaine De Souza, Assistant Director, HR and OD, Greater London Authority

How can I support my employees to become magistrates?

The Magistrates Association has guidance on reviewing your public duty policy – this makes specific reference to magistrates and includes guidelines on the number of days’ leave permitted. It also provides some practical advice on how you can support your employees to be magistrates:

We have lots of information to support you as an employer in our leaflet. We also have a document to support you to develop a policy in your workplace.