Hours and Flexibility
- You and we are expected to show reasonable flexibility in arranging your hours of work, within the limitations set out in 2 and 3, below.
- When you join a VoluntEars programme you may be expected to work the normal school hours of the country you have chosen, although exact working hours will vary between countries and even schools. Your hours will typically be spread over a five day working week, and should not normally exceed 8 hours a day. You should never be required to work for more than a maximum of six days a week.
Accommodations and Food
- VoluntEars is responsible for providing your accommodation and food for the period of your placement but not beyond your agreed finishing date.
- You are welcome to stay in your chosen country after completing your time on our programme but we will not be responsible for providing your food or accommodation for the additional holiday time.
- VoluntEars staff have to obtain permission from and register you with local Police and immigration authorities to enable you to stay in local accommodation during your placement. It is a condition of their permission that you should not invite guests (either local or foreign) to stay overnight at your accommodation without prior approval from the relevant authority. Failure to adhere to this condition will be a disciplinary matter and will be dealt with according to ‘Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures’ below.
- You are responsible for arranging travel insurance for the duration of your trip. Please email a copy of your insurance policy, including emergency contact details, to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please contact us at email@example.com or on 01273 782288 if you need any advice about insurance.
Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures
- We will be flexible, helpful and friendly – in particular, we will try to help you with your work if you’re trying hard, but still getting into difficulties. Nevertheless, formal complaints procedures (by you) and disciplinary procedures (by us) are necessary, and these are laid out in 9 to 11, below.
- If you have a complaint about the procedures leading up to your departure, call our UK Head Office on +44 (0)1273 782288 in UK office hours and we will deal with it as quickly as possible. When you are on your placement, please bear in mind that you need to show a high level of independence and initiative in dealing with problems yourself as they arise. If you have a problem or complaint to do with your work, please discuss the matter with our staff. Any complaint made or problem known to our overseas offices (including any made to overseas staff members at any time) will be recorded. Individual situations are then discussed and resolved appropriately. If you still feel dissatisfied when you are on your placement, you can contact our UK Head Office on +44 (0)1273 782288.
- Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve any disciplinary matter before it becomes serious. However, we reserve the right to take appropriate action in the event of behaviour which would reasonably be expected to give offence to host, pupils, fellow-teachers, project managers or work colleagues. This includes behaviour such as serious rowdiness or drunkenness, failure to turn up to work, or leaving work without any adequate reason, or in the event of an unreasonable inability, from whatever cause, to do the work expected.
- A disciplinary problem would be brought to your attention in writing or, if you were not contactable, delivered to your accommodation address. If the problem still stood after five working days (or shorter period if urgent), a further letter would be sent saying that, if the matter was not resolved to our satisfaction within a further five working days (or shorter period if urgent), you would be repatriated as soon as we could make the arrangements. Should you wish to stay in your destination country beyond that date, VoluntEars would have no further responsibility for your food, accommodation or travel arrangements. It would be at the discretion of VoluntEars to suspend you from your work during any disciplinary process. You are under the authority of VoluntEars and their overseas agents and organisers throughout the period of the placement.
- If VoluntEars agrees that there is an unacceptable amount of incompatibility between you and the host family and we consider it the right decision to change your host family, it may be necessary to provide you with hostel accommodation for a short period. This would be paid for by VoluntEars and you will be given money for food if it is not provided.
Amendments, Cancellations and Curtailment and Late Payment
- Amendments or cancellations may be notified to the UK office by telephone but they must be confirmed in writing. The date of the telephone call will only apply if we receive written confirmation within two working days. Our overseas offices will provide advice on changing air tickets but our staff cannot be expected to take responsibility for changing them on your behalf.
- Extensions, provided they involve no change of placement, are charged at the prevailing rate advertised on our website at the time that an extension is requested. No amendment fee will be added to any extension charges where there are no other changes.
- A “week” in all matters to do with VoluntEars is defined as 7 days.
- If you stay on your placement over your invoiced duration we will charge you an additional amount of £20 per day to cover your food, accommodation and support.
- Our charge for an amendment is normally £75 or €100 plus any costs incurred by us. If the total cost is going to exceed £125 or €170, we will provide you with a quotation before proceeding.
- Cancellation and curtailment charges depend on how far in advance of your stated departure date we have been informed in writing. Your stated departure date refers to the earliest of either: the “preferred departure date” entered on your original application form or any subsequently agreed upon date. If only a month and a year are specified on the application form, for administrative purposes the stated departure date will be considered the 1st of the month specified.
i. Notice of 3 months or more: £65 or €95
ii. Notice of 2 to 3 months: one third of total programme fee
iii. Notice of 1 to 2 months: two thirds of total programme fee
iv. Notice of less than one month: no refund
- Deposits paid less than three months before the originally stated departure date, defined as above, are non-refundable.
- Exceptions are entirely at the discretion of VoluntEars and must be agreed in writing at the time when any postponement or cancellation is made.
- Amendments, once your placement has started, are at the discretion of VoluntEars. As a guide only, 14 days notice is normally the minimum required.
- If you curtail your programme for any reason other than for a breach by us of our obligations, we cannot pay any refunds and you would be responsible for any additional costs involved, including the cost of repatriation, subject to any claim that you may have under your insurance policy. At our sole discretion we will consider a request to make an ex gratia refund to you of any savings that we might make (such as on your board and lodging). We reserve the right to charge you an administration fee.
- Where a programme involves two or more destinations it is treated as a single indivisible programme and clauses 13 to 22, above, inclusive, apply as if the programme involved a single destination.
- You must pay all amounts due to VoluntEars three months before departure, where “departure” means the preferred departure date indicated on your original application or any new date agreed in writing between you and VoluntEars for whatever reason. Exceptions to this obligation include agreed late amendments and additions and payments due if your application was accepted within three months of departure (defined as above), in which case the full payment is immediately due. If you do not qualify as an exception and do not pay all amounts when due, we reserve the right to impose a surcharge and we will normally impose at least a surcharge of £100 or €140, increasing the later payment is made, without prejudice to our right to terminate the agreement for failure to pay.
Responsibility and other matters
- Please note that your booking is accepted on the understanding that you come on the programme at your own risk. It is not possible for us to be responsible for the actions or omissions of those involved in your programme over whom we have no direct control, such as employees of airlines, transport undertakings and others. Equally we are not responsible for loss or expense due to war, riots, strikes, terrorist activities, natural disasters, or bankruptcies (or similar) of unconnected third parties. VoluntEars is not liable for any injury, damage, loss, accident, delay, or other irregularity which may be caused by defect of any vehicle or other equipment, other than its own, or the negligence or default of any company or person engaged in carrying out or performing any of the services involved, other than our own staff.
- Some courses and other activities are provided by independent third parties. You should note that VoluntEars can arrange bookings for these courses and other activities on your behalf but are not appointed agents or representatives of these third parties and cannot accept liability for them or their activities.
- Please note that we give you all reasonable assistance to obtain visas, visa renewals and work permits, when they are needed. However, these are arrangements between individuals and a state and are not under our control.
- Please note that our volunteers are issued with visas, where applicable, and are registered, where applicable, in their chosen country on the basis that their work is purely voluntary. Doing paid work while on a VoluntEars programme is illegal; if the relevant authorities find you have organised paid work they may take action against you, and this would also be a disciplinary matter to be dealt with as provided in paragraphs 9 and 11, above.
- Please note that VoluntEars is not responsible for arrangements outside your working hours (2, above). It is your responsibility to arrange suitable insurance cover for your placement period and any extra leisure time. Baggage and personal effects are the sole responsibility of the owners at all time.
- Please note that all services and accommodation are subject to the laws of the country in which they are provided. VoluntEars reserves the right to make changes in the agreed itinerary whenever, in their sole judgement, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of the volunteer. VoluntEars also reserves the right to withdraw without penalty any programme announced.
- Without in any way limiting our entitlement under paragraph 25, above, in the event that VoluntEars is advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth office (or, for non-British volunteers, your foreign ministry) that you should not travel to, or should not remain in, the destination where you have been placed, then we will instead provide the nearest possible equivalent placement in the nearest possible equivalent destination.
- Please note that VoluntEars reserves the right to decline to accept any person as a volunteer, or to require any participant to withdraw at any time, when such action is determined by the appropriate VoluntEars staff representative to be in the best interests of the health, safety, and general welfare of the programme or of the individual participant. In such a case, VoluntEars accepts no responsibility for any airline cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable ticket or any other cost that you may incur.
- Dates, schedules, programme details and cost are given in good faith, based on information available and in force at the time they are given and are subject to change and revision in the event of a change of circumstances. In the event that VoluntEars is unable to provide a suitable placement of the type requested, we will instead offer an alternative trip and will refund any difference between the price paid for the trip and the price charged for the alternative trip in the country in question.
- Proper Law and Jurisdiction – The proper law of the contract between us is English Law. The courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with the contract.
- VoluntEars will share the information submitted on the application form with its partners, branches and subsidiaries around the world. This information is not used for marketing or solicitation purposes, and it is never rented, sold, given or traded to other companies.