Productivity of volunteers’ work depends greatly upon organizational level of the company they are working for. Coordination is an indispensable part of effective management of human resources and the volunteer program is created to solve numerous problems connected with training and supervising the volunteers. It also implies the policy that describes the details of communication of the staff, managers and volunteers. It also provides legal information about the rights and responsibilities of those who want to participate in volunteering programs.
The Fair Labor Standards Act gives a vague definition of the employment. Though, according to the definition of the Supreme Court, the Fair Labor Standards Act did not suppose that all people who “without any express or implied compensation agreement might work for their own advantage on the premises of another” should not be called employees. According to the decision of the Department of Labor those individuals who do not receive payment for the services they render to humanitarian, religious, charitable and other non profit organizations are called volunteers.
Sometimes the members of the employees’ families are volunteering in the institution their relatives work. In this case they are usually supervised directly b their relatives or work in the same department with them.
The main particularity of volunteer work is the both the institution and the volunteer can end their cooperation because of any reason. This decision might not undergo legal explanations. This kind of working relations is based solely on the desire to help and is affected by the perception of each other by both sides. However, it is polite to let the supervisor know that the volunteer is planning to quit working in advance.
Volunteers can be definitely called the moving force of the society, its active part. The institutions that need their help should be careful in choosing assignments for such people that will not harm their health and psyche. Volunteer work should be directed effectively and people have to see real results of their activity.
It is evident that those people who agree to spend their free time and energy to help someone without asking for compensation have to be treated with much respect. However, the law does not neglect volunteers and tries to provide them with policy that imposes certain requirement on the institution. Among the most important issues is avoiding unnecessary risks during volunteer work. The supervisors have to give the volunteers protective equipment (if needed) and instruct them according to all state and federal rules. In case of injuries, the institution will pay the volunteer according to the program of Worker’s Compensation.
The Volunteer Service has to receive and check monthly reports about the working time of those, who help the institution. These records are written by the volunteer’s supervisor. The workspace needs to meet all the requirements. The volunteers in their turn need to keep confidentiality and the information about the employees or institution needs to stay secret for others. They also need to dress appropriately depending upon the situation. For example, the bikini is not the right dress code for the person who volunteers at high school.
If the department decides to collaborate with the volunteers, the administration needs to remember that these people only provide supplementary help, but do not replace the employees who get payment for their job. The administration can not rely on the skills of volunteers, neglecting their official stuff. For example, the volunteers in the college will not teach a course of be a lecturer more than one semester.
The preliminary terms of volunteering in the educational institution should be discussed with the Associate Dean of the department where the person wants to volunteer first. When the candidate is approved by the Dean, he/she needs to file a written proposal and all necessary documents to the administration. The terms of collaboration have to be explained there in details. The documents should include information about the services the person wants to provide, the approximate time he/she can dedicate to work and terms of the beginning and the end of volunteering. Letters of support and a resume is also required.
Federal law also provides the requirements for institutions that use volunteer help. First, the minors can be recruited only with the written permission of parents or guardians. The work of a volunteer who is under 18 has to meet all the requirements of the child labor laws. Then, according to The Public Health and Welfare Code of the US, the volunteers have the following rights:
Except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this section, no volunteer of a nonprofit organization or governmental entity shall be liable for harm caused by an act or omission of the volunteer on behalf of the organization or entity if –
(1) the volunteer was acting within the scope of the responsibilities in the nonprofit organization or governmental entity at the time of the act or omission;
(2) if appropriate or required, the volunteer was properly licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities for the activities or practice in the State in which the harm, where the activities were or practice was undertaken within the scope of the volunteer’s responsibilities in the nonprofit organization or governmental entity;
(3) the harm was not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed by the volunteer; and
(4) the harm was not caused by the volunteer operating a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, or other vehicle for which the State requires the operator or the owner of the vehicle, craft, or vessel to –
(A) possess an operator’s license; or
(B) maintain insurance. (United States Code. The Public Health and Welfare, 1997)
Volunteering is an important part of making the life in the society better. Those people care for the future of the state and in its turn the government and the society itself need to care for them. The right policies and laws can prevent a great number of conflicts between the institutions and the volunteers.
Congress. (1997, June 18). United States Code. The Public Health and Welfare. Retrieved from http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/42C139.txt
Ingrid M. Johansen. (Spring 1998). Legal Issues in School Volunteer Programs. Retrieved from http://sogpubs.unc.edu/electronicversions/slb/slb98sp1.pdf
Leda E. Dunn. (1992). Protection of Volunteers Under Federal Employment Law: Discouraging Voluntarism. Retrieved from http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3015&context=flr