Posted on July 12, 2013

One of your employees is so committed to the organization that she offers to “volunteer” part of her time. She will do her job Monday through Friday but she will only be paid for four days a week. Sounds like a great solution to your nonprofit’s financial struggles, right? Wrong – according to the Department of Labor. Most employees must be paid for all of the time they spend doing their job. An employee may only “volunteer” if certain conditions are met, namely:

• The volunteer services must be aimed at advancing civic, charitable, or humanitarian goals, without the promise or expectation of any compensation.
• The employer must not require or coerce the volunteer services.
• The volunteer services must not be the same type of services performed by the employee in his or her regular position.

The last requirement may be the trickiest to satisfy. An employee may not provide volunteer services that are similar to their paid work. So a counselor may not volunteer to supervise children on a field trip and a teacher’s aide may not volunteer to assist teachers after hours.

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