Can board members be paid?

Any board member may seek reimbursement for reasonable expense, and most may benefit from any indemnity insurance policy paid for by the organisation.

Any non-charity can also pay its board members if (1) it is in the best interests of the organisation to do so, (2) all conflicts of interest are declared and properly managed and (3) there are no restrictions in the organisation’s constitution. There are additional limits to payments for CIC board members.

The rules are different for charities, because a trustee has a duty of undivided loyalty to their charity, and must not profit from their position. Nor may a trustee create a conflict of interest. For those reasons, it is rare for a charity to pay a trustee for their trusteeship, and a trustee can never be paid for providing auditing services for their charity. It may be possible for a trustee to be a paid employee of a charity for other roles, provided that the constitution has an express power or the Commission’s consent is obtained. It may also be possible for a minority of trustees to be paid (on a one off or occasional freelance basis) for services provided to their charity. New rules (when brought into force) will allow one off payments for goods or services irrespective of any express provision in the constitution.

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