EWU 401-04: Volunteers

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Personnel – General Provisions

EWU Policy 401-04 Authority: EWU Board of Trustees
Effective: December 6, 2019 Proponent: Human Resources, Rights and Risk

Purpose:  This policy prescribes standards and associated procedures for the use of volunteers by Eastern Washington University.  The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance and direction to managers, staff, and volunteers and to assist departments in complying with Federal and State regulations and university policies.

History:    This policy updates a previous version adopted by the EWU Board of Trustees (BOT) on December 3, 2013. The updates were approved by the Board of Trustees on December 6, 2019.

Applicability:  This policy pertains to all persons serving as volunteers or who seek to become volunteers for Eastern Washington University, and to all university departments and employees whose activities involve the use of volunteers. Reimbursement for the Board of Trustees is governed by EWU Policy 101-02 (University Governance), Appendix A (Board of Trustees Bylaws).


1.  Introduction

Individuals may volunteer their time to assist Eastern Washington University in the conduct of official University activities.

Questions related to this policy should be directed to Human Resources.

Definition of a Volunteer: A volunteer is any individual who freely, without coercion or pressure, chooses to perform services for the University without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for such services.

2.  Restrictions on the Use of Volunteers

a. Volunteers must not receive any type of remuneration, including, but not limited to, money, food, lodging, tickets, or anything of value given in exchange for the volunteers’ services. Departments shall ensure volunteers clearly understand they will not be compensated for their services.

b. Volunteers may be provided with items that enable them to carry out their officially assigned volunteer duties, such as T-shirts to identify official volunteers at events or food during the event they are volunteering for, as long as such items are nominal in value and are not given in exchange for the volunteers’ services. The university may pay a volunteer’s travel expenses if the travel is directly related to and necessary for the person to perform volunteer work on behalf of the university.

c. University employees shall not promise a volunteer that he or she will receive anything of value for his or her services, including the possibility of future employment.

d. University employees may only serve as volunteers in activities that are unrelated to the duties of their current position or a former position held within the last twelve months with the University. University employees may not volunteer to perform duties that they are normally compensated for performing.

e. Volunteer services cannot displace work normally performed by University employees.

f. A person should not be allowed to volunteer when his or her volunteer service would be in violation of his or her visa status or immigration laws.

g. Restrictions for Minors

  • Volunteers must be 14 years or older. If less than 18 years old, parental consent is required.
  • Volunteers under the age of 18 may have restrictions on their work hours.
  • Volunteers under the age of 18 may not drive or operate machinery or perform jobs requiring specialized personal protective equipment

3.  Department Responsibilities

Departments that use the services of volunteers are responsible for compliance with this policy, other university policies, and with related federal and state laws and regulations.  In addition, departments must:

a. register volunteers as described in section 5, prior to assigning them any duties;

b. maintain volunteer records as described in section 6;

c. provide supervision to volunteers by regular full-time staff;

d. initiate background checks on volunteers whose activities require it, as described in EWU Policy 401-03, Background Checks;

e. inform volunteers of university policies and procedures that are relevant to their activities;

f. inform volunteers of procedures for reporting workplace incidents;

g. inform volunteers of the procedure for filing workers’ compensation claims (Note: volunteers are only eligible for medical aid benefits, but not other benefits such as wage loss); and,

h. ensure volunteers complete safety orientations and training that are relevant to their activities.

4.  Reimbursement for Expenses

Volunteers may be reimbursed for actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the performance of authorized duties.

5.  Registration

Before volunteers perform any activities, departments must ensure volunteers have completed a Volunteer Service Agreement Form (appendix A) and submit the completed form to Human Resources.

6.  Records

Departments must maintain a file for each volunteer that includes, at a minimum, the following:

a. a completed Volunteer Service Agreement;

b. documentation of safety orientation and training; and,

c. a volunteer activity log which includes:

  1. the dates, times, and hours of service,
  2. description of volunteer activities, and
  3. name of employee who supervised the volunteer.

Departments must maintain volunteer files for six years after termination of service.

7.  Quarterly Payroll Report

Departments must report volunteer activity, including name, department, hours worked and index number, to Payroll by the 15th of the month following each calendar quarter (e.g. January 1 to March 31 volunteer reporting is due to Payroll by April 15).  A department employee with expenditure authority for the associated index must certify the report.

The department is assessed a premium per volunteer hour for workers’ compensation coverage. The premium is set by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries and is subject to change. For current rate, contact the Payroll Office.

8.  Liability Claims Made by Third Parties

Volunteers, who are acting in good faith and within the scope of their volunteer assignments, are eligible for state defense of claims made against them.