The University of Michigan has a long history of encouraging individuals to volunteer and welcomes their presence. These guidelines are for the University community and potential volunteers to provide information regarding who may volunteer, where individuals may volunteer at the U-M, what information volunteers need to know, and what, if any, liability there is to the U-M or to the volunteer in particular circumstances.
The University of Michigan appreciates the efforts of volunteers, who enhance a number of programs and activities, and recognizes that they derive benefits from being volunteers, including learning new skills, enhancing career opportunities and making professional and social contacts. Volunteers contribute of their own free will and should not be coerced or pressured in any way to volunteer.
U-M volunteers are expected to comply with all applicable laws and University rules and regulations, as well as comply with the rules and regulations of the specific department for which they are volunteering. It is the responsibility of the individual unit to ensure that volunteers are aware of the unit's rules and regulations and comply with them.
U-M departments should keep records of volunteer names, dates of services, and services performed, and should issue letters describing the volunteer service prior to the volunteer's start date with the unit. These records [volunteer letter, name, dates of service and services performed] should be maintained for a minimum of three years after their volunteer service ends. A sample volunteer letter may be viewed at Appendix A to this document.
Q: Who is eligible to Volunteer at the U-M?
A: In general, most people can volunteer at the U-M. It is recommended that volunteers be at least 16 years of age.
Note: If the volunteer is performing services that would otherwise be performed by someone in a paid position, please contact your central Human Resources Representative/Consultant for guidance.
Note: If the volunteer is performing services covered by a grant please contact the DRDA grant coordinator for that grant.
General Public: US citizens and non-citizens allowed to permanently reside in the U.S. over the age of 18 who are not UM employees have no restrictions on their volunteer efforts.
For volunteers under the age of 18 there are certain restrictions on working conditions. For this information please refer to the University of Michigan Standard Practice Guide at http://spg.umich.edu/pdf/201.20.pdf
U-M employees: U.S. citizens, non-citizens allowed to permanently reside in the U.S., and students or U-M employees who are volunteering for activities which are not the same type of services for which the individual is already employed at the U-M are eligible to volunteer at the U-M. U-M non-exempt staff can volunteer for service that is completely unrelated to their ordinary work.
Non-U.S. citizens, including temporary visa holders, include the following categories: For department information, the International Center has included a list of visa categories commonly held by temporary visa holders at the U-M. For additional information please consult the International Center web site. http://www.umich.edu/~icenter/admin/
All individuals in the following categories are eligible to volunteer in most circumstances. Please check with the International Center for individuals in specific categories.
|| Full-time students
|| Dependents of F-1 full-time students
|| Exchange visitors who could be full-time students, professors, researchers, short-term scholars, or specialists
|| Dependents of J-1 exchange visitors
|| U-M employees in particular occupations
|| Dependents of H-1B employees
NOTE: The International Center recommends that F-2 and J-2 dependents volunteer for defined volunteer programs only as these are clearly delineated as not employment.
NOTE: B-1 Visitors for Business and B-2 Visitors for Recreation/Travel are NOT eligible to volunteer.
For any other questions about volunteering regarding non-U.S. citizens, contact the U-M International Center at 734.764.9310 or email@example.com.
Non-US citizens who are temporary visa holders may volunteer except under the following circumstances:
Visitors who are in the process of changing their immigration status: A temporary visa holder who has applied to change status and whose employment authorization from the original status has expired must wait for the new status to be approved to resume employment. Such an individual must not volunteer anywhere in the University while waiting for a decision on the change of status application.
A temporary visa holder working at the U-M on an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) whose document has expired must stop employment and must not volunteer in the position previously held or another similar position. This individual must wait until receipt of the new EAD card to resume employment.
A temporary visa holder who has applied for an immigration benefit such as for permanent resident status and whose previous status has expired, may not volunteer in the position for which they previously held employment, but must wait for receipt of the permanent resident card.
For all of the examples above: Volunteering to continue to perform the duties, or a portion thereof, of the previously held position can be viewed as unauthorized employment and is not allowed.
For questions about other visa statuses, contact the U-M International Center at 734.764.9310 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: For which liabilities are volunteers covered?
A: In general, the University of Michigan provides only general liability insurance coverage for volunteers acting within the course of their duties. This coverage will pay for all amounts that the University, or volunteer, are legally obligated to pay due to negligence which results in personal injury and/or property damage to others. Please remember, the University expects
U-M units to conduct volunteer programs in a way that minimizes risk or potential liability to the University.
There are three areas of -coverage (indemnification) related to the volunteer activity:
Liability of the University as a result of harm to a third party through the actions of the volunteer
Example: A claim for damages by a third party may be made against the University as a result of actions taken by volunteers while carrying out (acting within the course of) their volunteer duties.
Liability of the volunteer to third parties
Example: A claim for damages by a third party may be made against a volunteer for actions taken while carrying out their volunteer duties.
Liability of the University to the volunteer
The University is obligated to provide a safe working environment for volunteers, adhering to the same standards it has for its employees. Volunteers are not covered by workers' compensation disability benefits. Medical treatment for injuries is covered through the volunteer's private health insurance. Because volunteers are not covered by workers' compensation, there is potential for legal action against the University on the basis of our (U-M negligence).
Q: What is the difference between performing work and volunteering?
A: Wage and Hour Compliance
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all non-exempt employees must receive minimum wage for every hour worked and time and a half for every hour over 40 worked in a week 1. There is an exception to this rule for volunteers of a public employer. The exception is applicable as long as:
The individual receives no compensation for his/her services or is paid only expenses, reasonable benefits, or a nominal fee to perform the services for which he/she volunteered. Foreign nationals on non-immigrant visas may only accept reimbursement for actual expenses and may NOT be paid reasonable benefits or a nominal fee (as this may be considered performing services or labor for remuneration and would be considered employment).
The individual is not coerced or pressured in any way into volunteering the services; and
If already employed by the University in a non-exempt position, the volunteer services are not the same type of services which the individual is employed to perform for the University. [Foreign nationals on non-immigrant visas are not allowed to temporarily' volunteer in the position for which they were employed by the University.]
Q: Are volunteers eligible for any compensation?
A: A volunteer is an individual who performs a service of her/his own free will without any remuneration. A unit may offer to reimburse volunteers for expenses such as parking, travel, or child care or reward the volunteers with an appreciation event. Volunteers are considered to be freely assisting with a project or service as a personal choice and do not receive any other monetary compensation.
NOTE: Foreign nationals on non-immigrant visas may only accept reimbursement for actual expenses and may NOT be paid reasonable benefits or a nominal fee.
Q: Whom should I call for questions I have about volunteering?
A: This document was not intended to answer specific questions. For these call the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel (OVPGC) at 734.764.0304. Staff at the OVPGC will answer your question or direct you to the appropriate office able to answer your question.
1 The FLSA also provides Hospitals the ability to utiize 8/80 scheduling provisions, which provide for overtime greater that eight hours in a day or more than 80 hours in a two-week pay period.
To: Name of Volunteer
Address of Volunteer
Dear Name of Volunteer,
On behalf of the department of [Name of Department] I welcome you as a valued volunteer. We will do our best to ensure that your volunteer activities are rewarding to you and want you to know that volunteers such as yourself make a real difference to our office.
Please be advised that you will need to comply with all applicable laws and University rules and regulations, as well as comply with the rules and regulations of our department. Your supervisor will introduce you to the rules and regulations of our department.
We look forward to getting to know you as a valuable member of our team.
Details of your Volunteer Placement are below:
Population to be served:
Begin and end dates of service: