Employers of Volunteers

It takes thousands of dedicated Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers from across the state to provide emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Our volunteers live and work in their communities and embody the spirit of community service, play an important role in influencing and supporting community actions and decisions before, during and after emergency events – all of which would not possible without the support and commitment of their employers.

Allowing employees to volunteer illustrates corporate social responsibility and is critical to VICSES keeping communities safer. All volunteers receive nationally endorsed and competency-based training in a broad range of areas. This brings a wealth of new skills to both VICSES and your organisation.

On this page:


About us

VICSES is a volunteer-based organisation providing emergency assistance to minimise the impact of emergencies and strengthen the community’s capacity to plan, respond and recover when emergencies occur. Operating since 1950 we cover metropolitan and regional Victoria.

We are unique as we provide multiple specialist services. As a result, our volunteers carry out the broadest suite of emergency response of any of the emergency service organisations in the state. In Victoria, we are the control agency for:

We collaborate with the community in preparing for emergencies, raising and improving awareness of emergencies and preparedness, and providing timely, relevant and accurate information and warnings. Our volunteers are the backbone of the organisation.

Who we are provides further information about VICSES




About VICSES volunteers

Volunteers come from all walks of life, covering a diverse range of ages, professions and backgrounds. They assist with everything from front line response, to media engagement and community education.

Volunteers receive nationally endorsed and competency based training and support which is available after hours and on weekends. This ensures every volunteer is skilled and capable to perform their role. Pathways for further development are also provided.

Each VICSES unit is unique in its size, responsibilities and location. Volunteers can select the unit and schedule to suit their lifestyle and workplace.

Roles and specialised skills volunteers experience and develop include:

  • General rescue
  • Community education
  • First aid
  • Storm and water damage
  • Media liaison
  • Road rescue
  • Social media management
  • Rescue boat and flood response
  • Search and rescue
  • Fundraising
  • Map reading and navigation
  • Supervising events
  • Leading and managing teams
  • Administrative support
  • Four wheel drive
  • Incident management


Further detail about the training and roles offered are available on the volunteer page.


Benefits of volunteering – for employers and volunteers

Volunteering for VICSES is an enriching and fulfilling experience. It provides an opportunity to learn highly sought after skills to also use in the workplace.

Skills and experience VICSES volunteers bring to the workplace include:

  • Nationally endorsed and competency based training in a broad range of areas
  • Leadership, team work, communication and problem solving skills
  • Responsibility, commitment and building trust
  • Demonstrated contribution to corporate social responsibility
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Improved moral and motivation.


Volunteer health and wellbeing

Safety drives decisions at VICSES and our volunteer are well versed and committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for themselves, their fellow volunteers, and their community. 

They receive formal training in WHS, work under the VICSES Safety Management system, and are skilled in recognition of hazards and management risks in a dynamic and unsafe workplace.

Volunteers and their families have access to a broad range of physical and mental health and wellbeing programs. The programs available include health checks, vaccinations, fitness programs, healthy eating initiatives, mental health support and education, workers compensation, supportive return to work arrangements and peer support programs.


Support for employers

When allowing employees to volunteer, we understand this is a big commitment on your part.
We ask all volunteers to discuss volunteering and leave arrangements with their employer at the commencement of joining or at the earliest time possible. We also recommend formalising and documenting arrangements made in accordance with the employers individual requirements.
To follow is information and support to assist you in this important role.

Payroll tax exemptions for employers

In recognition of the important contribution volunteers make to their communities, wages paid or payable to employees absent from work to volunteer in response to emergencies, are exempt from payroll tax. The State Revenue Office Victoria has further detail.

Leave arrangements

VICSES volunteers are encouraged to discuss and negotiate leave arrangements with their employer at the earliest possible time, and prior to engaging in any work hour emergency response. Any leave arrangements are to be documented in accordance with an employers’ individual requirements.
To aid in this process refer to the following sample clause.
"Full-time and part time employees involved in recognised volunteer emergency services shall be entitled to paid leave on ordinary time rate of pay, to attend emergency situations. It shall be the responsibility of the employee to keep the company informed about time off needed to attend emergency duties. To receive authorisation of this leave, an employee shall provide the company with notice and proof of attendance at the emergency situation as soon as practicable."

National employment standards

The Fair Work Act 2009 informs the National Employment Standards and provides guidance for employers of emergency service volunteers. You can call the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 1394 or visit fairwork.gov.au for further information.
Volunteers who are absent from work to undertake emergency service activities, are entitled to Community Service Leave. This covers the time the employee is engaged in the eligible activity, reasonable travel time, and rest time immediately following the activity.
It is the responsibility of the employee to advise the employer of the absence period as soon as possible. If requested, they must also provide written evidence to support the leave application.

 Talk to VICSES today  

Call 1300 842 737. The interactive map on the Become a volunteer page will locate your nearest unit.