Policy Name: Volunteer Policy

Policy Number: HR-5002

Effective: 2021/09/07

Revised: Not applicable

Policy Details

  • Definition of Volunteer
  • What Constitutes a Volunteer?
  • Requirements and Responsibilities Pertaining to Volunteers
  • Safe Environment Requirements
  • Prohibited Activities
  • Training
  • Termination

Definition of an Volunteer

Consistent with definitions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “recognizes the generosity and public benefits of volunteering and allows individuals to freely volunteer in many circumstances for charitable and public purposes. Individuals may volunteer time to religious, charitable, civic, humanitarian, or similar nonprofit organizations as a public service and not be covered by the FLSA. Individuals generally may not, however, volunteer in commercial activities run by a non-profit organization such as a gift shop. A volunteer generally will not be considered an employee for FLSA purposes if the individual volunteers freely for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, and without contemplation or receipt of compensation.

Typically, such volunteers serve on a part-time basis and do not displace regular employed workers or perform work that would otherwise be performed by regular employees. In addition, paid employees of a non-profit organization cannot volunteer to provide the same type of services to their non-profit organization that they are employed to provide.”

Volunteers are uncompensated and provide services without the expectation of pay from the volunteer activity and have no assurance or reason to expect that Holy Family University will offer employment following the volunteer period.

Volunteers are not eligible for any Holy Family University benefits, including unemployment or workers' compensation benefits.

To ensure that an individual performing volunteer services is not an employee for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all of the following criteria must be satisfied in order for the individual to be approved as a volunteer:

  1. The services are intended to be voluntary and to be rendered without compensation.
  2. The services must constitute a bona fide effort of the individual to volunteer for humanitarian or public service purpose or for the benefit of education, training or professional experience.
  3. Individuals volunteer their time for their own personal motives, without promise or expectation of compensation or employment.
  4. Volunteers must not be used in ways that displace or replace regular employees in the performance of their normal duties.

Employees as Volunteers

Paid employees of a non-profit organization cannot volunteer to provide the same type of services to their non-profit organization that they are employed to provide. The employee's involvement must be truly voluntary, meaning that the employee is not pressured to participate and there are no negative consequences for employees who do not participate.

Under special circumstances, an employee may serve as a volunteer when their paid work is substantively different from their work as a volunteer and the purpose of the volunteer activity otherwise complies with the definition in this policy. If their work is not substantively different, then it is likely they employee is not a volunteer, and must be paid according to the FLSA. Please consult with Human Resources.

Any Holy Family University employee seeking to volunteer in any capacity at Holy Family University must notify their supervisor.

Who May Volunteer Duration

Anyone, including retirees, students, alumni, or others may provide volunteer service. A non-University student, who is under the age of 18, may only become a volunteer with parental consent. Individuals under the age of 16 may not become volunteers. The initial period for volunteering should be no longer than 6 months..

Requirements and Responsibilities Pertaining to Volunteers

Volunteers are subject to and must abide by all applicable University, policies, procedures and rules, including but not limited to those relating to health and safety, confidentiality, intellectual property, protected health information, non-discrimination, computer use, ethics, conflict of interest, criminal background check, drug use and anti-violence. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring supervisor to review these with the volunteer.

Safe Environment Policy

Volunteers who have direct contact with a Minor that involves the care, supervision, guidance or control of a Minor and has routine interaction with a Minor must have completed the full set of background check clearances before they arrive on campus. Routine interaction (which is part of the definition of “direct contact”) is “regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s volunteer responsibilities”.

All volunteers must successfully complete the following clearances: (i) Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check; (ii) Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance; and (iii) FBI fingerprint based national criminal records check.

To complete the clearances, please follow these steps:

As a volunteer, you are able to complete the clearances under the purpose of “Volunteer”. There may be no cost associated for volunteer clearances. Please see below for instructions on initiating these checks. If you have completed clearances for another purpose, within the previous 12 months, those results may be acceptable.

(i) The Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check

This clearance can be obtained by logging on to https://epatch.state.pa.us . Select “Submit a New Record Check” and complete the required information. Submit a copy of your printed certificate form displaying the results to the Office of Human Resources upon completion.

(ii) Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance

Submit an application online by creating a Child Welfare Account and completing the information electronically through the Child Welfare Portal at http://www.compass.state.pa.us/CWIS. Submit a copy of your printed certificate form displaying the results to the Office of Human Resources upon completion.

(iii) FBI Federal Criminal History Record

To complete the FBI Fingerprinting, go to https://uenroll.identogo.com to register. Enter code 1KG6ZJ. On the next screen choose “schedule an appointment”. To finish the registration process, complete the required information. Once registration is completed, you will receive a confirmation email.

IdentoGO is the service provider for federal background checks/fingerprinting services. As part of the registration process, you will schedule an appointment at one of their locations. Once you receive the results of the fingerprinting, please send your completed results to the Office of Human Resources.


Prohibited Activities

Volunteers cannot replace or be substituted for current employees or perform work that would otherwise require another individual to be employed. Volunteer services are generally limited to educational training (normally for unpaid interns), humanitarian, charitable or public service purposes and normally are rendered on a part-time and temporary nature.

University Volunteers are also prohibited from performing the following activities:

  • Operating heavy equipment, including vehicles
  • Working with stored energy (e.g. steam, electricity, hydraulics)
  • Activity considered inappropriate for any employee 
  • Entering into any contract on behalf of the University
  • Being present in a clinical setting or working with Protected Health Information (PHI), except in accordance with Holy Family University policies and procedures.



Volunteers are expected to conduct themselves consistent with standards of professional behavior common to all University and departmental staff. Holy Family University property, if issued, must be surrendered upon termination.