Who is a volunteer?

The US Department of Labor defines ‘volunteers’ as : “…(i)ndividuals who volunteer or donate their services, usually on a part-time basis, for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, not as employees and without contemplation of pay, (and) are not considered employees of the religious, charitable or similar non-profit organizations that receive their service.”

Volunteer work is intended to be altruistic and is performed for public or non-profit entities only. Volunteers do not receive wages or academic credit. Visiting employees, researchers from other institutions, or interns are not volunteers. A volunteer can receive a modest stipend or other reimbursement of expenses and still be considered a volunteer.

How do I report volunteers?

No reports are necessary, but UW volunteer work should be authorized, in writing and in advance, by department management or the supervisor who will direct the work. Authorizing the work helps ensure UW coverage for the volunteer and improves clarity and safety. Authorization should include the person’s name, a description of the duties they’ll be performing and the dates and hours of work. The volunteer’s schedule can be approximate if it’s backed up by a time keeping method in the department. Send a copy of the authorization to the volunteer and keep a copy in the department for at least 3 years, 6 years for minors. No other offices need copies unless a claim arises.

Are these people volunteers?

  • Unregistered/newly graduated UW students working on projects during summer quarter? Yes, if a UW department needs the work done and authorizes the dates and duties.
  • High school students needing community service credits? Yes, it this is a general requirement, not a specific requirement for class credit. Work for class credit requires an affiliation agreement with the school. Minors cannot perform hazardous volunteer or paid work.

Volunteer FAQs