[Moderate revision–posted 4/27/17 (replaces 6/12/14 edition)]
Operating Policy and Procedure
OP 70.21: Volunteer Workers
DATE: April 27, 2017
PURPOSE: Texas Tech University (TTU) offers volunteer programs for the local community for the purpose of providing educational opportunities. The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to establish responsibility and policy regarding the appointment of individuals to voluntary, unpaid assignments.
REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in February of odd-numbered years by the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and the Office of the General Counsel.
1. General Policies
a. Volunteer Worker Defined
A volunteer worker is an individual who is assigned to perform duties for a department or area of Texas Tech University (TTU) without compensation or the expectation of compensation, beyond reimbursement for pre-approved specified expenses. A volunteer worker is not an employee for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act, nor is he or she eligible for benefits. Potential volunteers workers may be members of the public, TTU alumni, students, faculty, staff, or retired TTU faculty or staff.
(1) A volunteer worker must be officially approved as a volunteer by the university prior to commencing the work experience, in accordance with the procedure in this OP. Volunteers are not employees of the university and should not be represented as employees. TTU accepts the service of volunteer workers with the understanding that such service is at the sole discretion of the university. Volunteer workers understand that the university may decide to sever the volunteer's relationship with the university at any time or for whatever reason. Notice of such a decision should be communicated as soon as possible to the volunteer worker's sponsor and Human Resources. Volunteers must comply with all applicable TTU policies and procedures.
(2) Prior to receiving an assignment of work duties, each prospective volunteer worker must complete an Adult Volunteer Worker Application (Attachment A) or, if the applicant is under age 18, a Texas Tech University Minor Volunteer Worker Application (Attachment B). A copy of the Adult Volunteer Worker Application or Minor Volunteer Worker Application must be retained by the sponsoring department and a copy must be sent to Human Resources.
(3) Prior to beginning a volunteer assignment, each prospective volunteer worker will be required to have a criminal history, sex offender, and violent offender check completed.
(4) The sponsoring department of each volunteer worker must provide a TTU employee to serve as a sponsor for each volunteer worker. Each volunteer worker will be supervised by the sponsor at all times and will never be left alone while at the workplace. The sponsor and sponsoring department must provide hours of work and a work environment in full compliance with all state and federal labor regulations.
(5) Each volunteer worker's worksite must be in full compliance with all applicable TTU safety programs, policies, and regulations. The sponsoring department must provide written documentation that these programs, policies, and regulations are followed according to the process in section 2 below. Further, if the volunteer worker performs research functions or works in an area where chemical, biological, or radiation hazards are present, the department must provide written documentation that general and hazard-specific safety training have been completed according to the process in section 2 below.
Each volunteer worker who has received an assignment of work duties must execute a copy of the Volunteer Release Form (Attachment C) prior to such duties. The Volunteer Release Form must be retained by the sponsoring department for the retention period specified in the Texas Tech University Records Retention Schedule (see OP 10.10 attachment).
a. The sponsor/sponsoring department must give written consent to authorize each volunteer worker or volunteer worker position. The written authorization must include a position summary, procedure, and materials to be utilized.
b. If the volunteer worker performs research functions or works in an area where chemical, biological, or radiation hazards are present, Environmental Health and Safety must authorize the volunteer worker's participation in writing. Authorization must include general and hazard-specific safety training for each volunteer worker.
c. Human Resources must also authorize each volunteer worker or volunteer worker position in writing. Authorization will be granted only if the work experience complies with all applicable TTU policies and procedures regarding human resources.
d. The Volunteer Worker Authorization Sheet (Attachment D) shall be completed and provided by the sponsoring department to Environmental Health and Safety (for research purposes) and to Human Resources prior to the volunteer commencing the work experience. For research positions, the original of each completed Volunteer Worker Authorization Sheet will be forwarded to the Office of Research for authorization by the Associate Vice President for Research. For all volunteer worker positions, the original of each completed Volunteer Worker Authorization Sheet will be forwarded to Human Resources for final approval by the Managing Director of Human Resources or his/her designee. Copies will be maintained by Environmental Health and Safety, the Office of Research, and Human Resources, and the original will be returned to and maintained by the sponsoring department.
Volunteer workers and appropriate TTU employees are expected to submit all appropriate records and information to the sponsoring department in a timely and accurate fashion.
Volunteer workers' records shall be accorded the same confidentiality as employee personnel records.
b. Representative of the Institution
Volunteer workers are not representatives of Texas Tech. Volunteer workers must seek consultation and approval from the sponsor who, in turn, must consult the appropriate university official prior to any action or statement that might affect or obligate the university. These actions may include, but are not limited to, public statements to the press, coalition or lobbying efforts with other organizations, or any agreements involving contractual or other financial obligations.
Volunteer workers are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of all appropriate or privileged information to which they are exposed while serving as volunteer workers, whether this information involves staff, volunteers, or other persons or involves overall institutional business. Failure to maintain confidentiality could result in ending the volunteer's relationship with the institution.
The sponsoring department should establish an appropriate workstation for volunteer workers prior to commencing the work experience. This workstation should contain necessary facilities, equipment, and space to enable the volunteer worker to perform his/her duties.
Individuals under age 18 may be enrolled as a volunteer worker with written consent of a parent or guardian. Minor applicants must complete the Minor Volunteer Worker Application prior to commencing a volunteer worker experience. The assignment of volunteer workers under age 18 will be in non-hazardous environments, in compliance with federal labor standard 29 CFR 570, Child Labor Regulations, Orders and Statements of Interpretation, as well as all applicable TTU policies and procedures regarding minors in work environments. Minor volunteer workers must receive the signature of a parent or guardian on the Volunteer Release Form.
5. Right to Change Policy
Texas Tech University reserves the right to interpret, change, modify, amend, or rescind this policy, in whole or in part, at any time without the consent of employees or volunteer workers.
6. Authoritative References
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Chapter V, Part 570
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Chapter V, Subpart 553.100 & 553.101
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