Volunteers provide an invaluable service to NSHE campuses. Ensuring proper screening, training, and protection in case of injury is a top priority.
The purpose of this policy and procedure is to provide NSHE institutions with guidelines that will allow them to properly select volunteers, obtain needed information from volunteers, and ensure that volunteers have workers' compensation and general liability coverage.
A volunteer is any individual who performs a service for and directly related to the business of the NSHE, without the expectation of monetary or material compensation.
Volunteers are expected to abide by university/college policies and regulations that govern their actions, including but not limited to those of ethical behavior, confidentiality, financial responsibility, and drug and alcohol use.
A volunteer may not perform any work until he has signed the volunteer agreement form detailing the nature of the work to be performed and the relationship of the volunteer to the university or college.
Volunteers are not considered employees for any purpose other than workers' compensation and general liability protection. Therefore, they are not eligible for retirement and health benefits, other than workers' compensation, as a result of their volunteer status. Volunteers serve at the pleasure of the institution. Accordingly, a volunteer assignment can be terminated at the discretion of the institution without notice or cause.
Each department can establish their own screening process that best meets their needs. Department screening policies must be in compliance with University EEOC/AA policies. A prospective volunteer may be required to undergo a rigorous screening process to determine fitness for the assignment. It is strongly recommended that each department develop a description of the volunteer assignment prior to the screening process. This will assist in determining the experience, qualifications, and training needed to fill that assignment. Such a process may include, but is not limited to: interview, a background check, fingerprinting, and a reference check. For department's wishing to drug test their volunteers, please contact the Risk Management Office for more information.
The department head must select volunteers who meet the minimum qualifications to perform the desired tasks. Volunteers may not replace classified employees who have been laid off.
As part of the screening process, a prospective volunteer may be asked to demonstrate that he or she is lawfully able to work in the United States.
Each department will be responsible for training their volunteers. Training must be completed successfully before the volunteer may begin the assignment. If volunteers will be working with machines and/or equipment, they must be provided with the proper protective gear. If the volunteer will be working with machines and/or equipment, they must be supervised by a trained staff member or experienced volunteer.
A person under the age of eighteen may only become a volunteer with parental consent. Minors are not allowed to work with any type of machinery and/or equipment under any condition. Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the minimum age for employment and/or volunteering is 14 years of age.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, a non-exempt employee cannot be both a paid employee and non-paid volunteer while performing the same type of work for the same employer. For example, an Administrative Assistant in the History Department cannot be considered a volunteer if their volunteer assignment requires them to perform Administrative Assistant duties in the Sociology Department. Although the definition of a non-exempt employee is complex, any hourly employee who is entitled to overtime, such as a classified employee, is generally considered to be non-exempt.