Annual volunteer reimbursement
Volunteers are eligible to receive an annual reimbursement of $300 (tax exempt*) for general expenses, to be paid each December, if they are a current member of a brigade. Please note: you will not be eligible if you are a volunteer and have taken leave for six months or longer, or you receive payment for attending regular station training and meetings.
This payment reimburses volunteers for some of the general expenses they incur as part of their volunteer activities during the year. This payment is an estimate of the expenses likely to be incurred.
*Our advice from PricewaterhouseCoopers is that the annual volunteer reimbursement is tax-exempt. However, if you think this reimbursement may affect you in other ways, please consult your own tax expert.
How to claim
To receive this for 2019, you will need to opt-in by sending us your bank details so we can reimburse you.
If you opt-in now, we will process this payment each year.
If you do not wish to opt-in for this payment, you can still opt-in later.
You can opt-out at any time.
Opt-in using this: Annual Volunteer Reimbursement form
Below are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) we have put together. We will let you know further details about the volunteer reimbursement policy and opt-out processes as we put our supporting systems in place.
Is the annual reimbursement optional?
Yes. There is an opt-in process to receive the annual reimbursement. You can opt-in by completing the annual volunteer reimbursement form.
An opt-out process will also be established later.
How do I apply to opt-in if I do not have internet?
If you do not have access to the internet, you can complete a paper form available from your brigade Chief/Controller, VSO or DPRFO.
When will I receive the reimbursement?
The reimbursement is paid in December each year to eligible volunteers.
Is this reimbursement taxed?
No, as the reimbursement is a contribution to general expenses incurred as part of normal volunteer duties. However, if you think this reimbursement may affect you in other ways, please consult your own tax expert.
Who is eligible?
It is our intent to have broad eligibility criteria to recognise there are many ways people can volunteer for Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Volunteers who have passed all entry checks and are recorded as Fire and Emergency personnel as at 1 December each year will be eligible for the annual volunteer reimbursement.
However, volunteers would be ineligible if:
- They are only an honorary or life honorary member of a brigade.
- They were a volunteer but left Fire and Emergency prior to 1 December (there is no pro-rata provision for this reimbursement).
- They are a volunteer who has taken leave for a period exceeding six continuous months or more within calendar year.
- They receive payment for attending regular station training and meetings.
Will volunteer brigade members who are also Fire and Emergency employees be eligible?
Yes. We recognise that you still give some of your time volunteering and so incur the same costs as other volunteers supporting your brigade.
Is attendance and skills maintenance performance A qualifying criteria for payment?
No. You only need to meet the eligibility criteria which makes the reimbursement accessible to a wide range of volunteer roles. Our intent is to make it a simple system to administer.
Will reimbursements be paid into the volunteer’s bank account?
Payments will be made to the bank account provided by each volunteer. Please note our personnel system only holds one recorded bank account against each volunteer’s identity. This nominated bank account will be used for all payments we make to you while you are with us.
If I have already provided my bank account details for previous claims, do I need to apply?
Yes. We still need to know you wish to opt-in and to do this you must complete the annual volunteer reimbursement form to receive this reimbursement.
For those who don’t want the money, can there be a system in place for them to donate to the brigade or a charity?
No. This is a reimbursement only, paid directly to volunteers.
How does Fire and Emergency monitor when someone leaves a brigade to ensure their payment is stopped?
Fire and Emergency has an existing process to manage volunteer exits from the organisation. It will be important that leaving forms are completed promptly by the Chief Fire Officer/Controller to ensure we can accurately administer service end dates.