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FAQs

What type of insurance does a volunteer need?

It is required that volunteers carry personal health insurance to protect themselves against the costs of medical expenses from injuries and illnesses they may incur. When volunteers do not have personal health insurance, if something happens to them while performing volunteer services for the University there will be more of a tendency for them to expect the University to pay for their medical expenses, whether or not the University is at fault for their illness or injury.

 

What constitutes a Volunteer Engagement?

A volunteer engagement must meet all relevant criteria:

  • Volunteer engagements must conform to the requirements of all laws, regulations and policies, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and any visa restrictions. In accordance with FLSA, volunteers typically serve on a part-time basis and may not displace regular employed workers. Departments may not use volunteer engagements to circumvent the University’s hiring processes or requirements.
  • Sponsoring Managers must engage volunteers without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation, including future employment, deferred payment, or any other financial benefit. Any volunteer services must be offered freely and without pressure or coercion, direct or implied from the University.
  • Volunteer engagements must comply with University Policy HRM-001: Authorization and Engagement of Volunteers
  • Please contact UVA Human Resources with questions about whether a volunteer engagement is compliant with all applicable laws and regulations, including the Fair Labor Standards Act.

 

Does the Volunteer Engagement require additional screening or background check?

The Sponsoring Manager must request or perform any screening (e.g., reference check, background check, driving records check) required by law or as appropriate for the nature and sensitivity of the activity to be performed by the volunteer. Background checks for volunteers should be aligned with the procedures and standards outlined in HRM-034: Background Checks, Screenings, and Ongoing Responsibility for Employees to Disclose Criminal Convictions.

  • A background check is recommended if any of the following applies:
  • Contact with minors, students, patients or human subjects study participants
  • Access to confidential information or cash
  • Potential exposure to permitted hazardous materials or controlled substances
  • Laboratory research or animal care
  • Controlled access to University facilities
  • The University has established minimum screening and training requirements for volunteers who interact with individuals under the age of 18 as part of a covered program. (Refer to HRM-050: Protection of Minors and Reporting Abuse for more detail.) Volunteers may not supervise or be responsible for minors unless within a covered program approved by the Office of Youth Protection.
  • Volunteers have a continuing obligation to disclose all criminal convictions to their Sponsoring Manager within five calendar days of the conviction.

 

What training and guidance should be provided to a Volunteer?

Training requirements for volunteers will vary based on the location and nature of the services to be provided.  Below is a list of potential training that a Sponsoring Manager should consider when engaging a volunteer, as appropriate:

  • Expectations (e.g. attendance, supervisor contact information, University policies, Code of Ethics, applicable laws, incident reporting)
  • Basic Safety Training (e.g. protocols for medical emergencies and weather events, location of fire exits, etc.)
  • Safety Awareness (Responsible Computing) Training
  • Preventing and Addressing Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Training
  • Title IX Responsible Reporter Training (Not on Our Grounds)
  • FERPA Training
  • HIPAA Privacy Training
  • CITI Human Subjects Training
  • EHS Radiation Safety Training
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee Training (for use of infectious agents or human specimens)
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Training (for use of vertebrate animals)
  • Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Training
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Motorized Equipment/Tools
  • Other department-specific safety issues

 

Can volunteers be exposed to Hazardous Environments or hazardous materials?

The University strongly discourages volunteers from conducting unnecessary activities involving potential exposure to hazardous materials and/or equipment.

  • Sponsoring Managers intending to engage volunteers in activities with potential exposure to hazardous materials (e.g., hazardous chemicals, biological agents, radioactive materials) and/or equipment (e.g., lasers, power-driven machinery) must first complete all required forms and obtain any required School approval.
  • Volunteers are prohibited from conducting activities involving potential exposure to (1) radioactive materials unless explicitly approved by the Radiation Safety Committee; and (2) biological agents requiring biosafety level 3 containment unless explicitly approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee.
  • Volunteers must successfully complete all relevant training and demonstrate proficiency before conducting activities with potential exposure to hazardous materials and/or equipment.

 

Can minors volunteer?

The University strongly discourages the use of minors as volunteers. Additional restrictions apply to engagements involving minor volunteers.

  • The Sponsoring Manager must provide supervision for minor volunteers at all times, and supervision must be aligned with HRM-050: Protection of Minors and Reporting Abuse.
  • Engagement of volunteers under the age of 16 must be approved in writing by the Office of Property & Liability Risk Management.
  • Minors are prohibited from conducting activities involving potential exposure to defined categories of hazardous materials and/or equipment, depending on age and applicable federal, state, or University restrictions. (A list of prohibited activities and additional guidance can be found on the Office of Environmental Health & Safety webpage.) The Sponsoring Manager is responsible for verifying that the volunteer activities proposed for a minor are not prohibited.

 

Are there restrictions for Foreign Nationals who want to volunteer?

Foreign nationals may serve as volunteers for the University if in accordance with all legal restrictions and should consult their own immigration attorney for guidance..

  • Foreign nationals may not perform work as a volunteer that would normally be performed by a paid employee. All foreign nationals must have the appropriate visa and authorization to engage in volunteer activities; violations of visa status could result in significant consequences.
  • Foreign nationals shall be allowed access to controlled technology and may participate in controlled activities (as defined in FIN-043: Managing Export and Sanction Compliance in Support of University Activities) to the extent necessary to perform their assigned duties, provided such access and participation is permitted by the regulations or authorized in an export license or other authorization issued by the appropriate regulatory agency.

 

Can volunteers drive University vehicles?

The University strongly discourages volunteers from operating motor vehicles for the purpose of performing volunteer activities.

  • The use of University vehicles is to conduct University business and should be limited to University employees. A volunteer may only operate University vehicles when no University employee is available to perform the task. In such circumstances, the volunteer must be authorized to drive in accordance with PRM-014: Use and Management of University Vehicles.
  • Prior to use of any vehicle for University business by a volunteer, the Sponsoring Manager must request or perform a driving record check and verify a clean driving record. Any volunteer who operates a vehicle for University business has a continuing obligation to disclose any moving traffic violations to their Sponsoring Manager within five calendar days of the citation.