Volunteers and Workers' Comp Coverage

 

Who is a volunteer?

A volunteer is a person who donates labor to another by his or her own free choice without receiving any type of money or other value in exchange.

When is a volunteer a “covered worker”?

Sometimes a volunteer is actually a “covered worker” who is entitled to industrial insurance coverage.

  • The business or organization may provide volunteers with maintenance and reimbursement for necessary actual expenses. “Maintenance” includes things such as meals and transient sleeping quarters while performing assigned or authorized volunteer duties. However, if a person receives any type of money or other value in excess of the expenses, he or she may be considered a covered worker.
  • If a business or organization claims someone as a volunteer and pays the person a stipend, the amount paid and its relation to the work performed must be evaluated to determine whether it is maintenance and reimbursement or is compensation for labor provided.
  • Gifts of appreciation do not transform a volunteer into a worker, and must be evaluated to determine whether they are maintenance or reimbursement, a token of appreciation, or compensation for labor provided.
  • Unpaid job training received with the promise of a future paid job is considered value in exchange for work performed.

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