Volunteer Service

The basic rule is that no person may provide unpaid service to the Government or be employed without pay or with the
understanding that he/she will waive pay. Agencies are
required by law to pay employees serving in positions under
the General Schedule and the Prevailing Rate System (WG/WS). Volunteer service is initiated by the individual, not the Government. Federal statutes and agency regulations allow for use of student volunteers and other volunteers in very limited situations:

  • - Pursuant to written agreements with educational institutions (educationally related work assignments for students of the institutions)

  • - In military hospitals (American Red Cross)

  • - In military museums or family support programs

  • - Legal services voluntarily provided as legal assistance

  • - Voluntary services as a proctor for administration to secondary school students of the test known as the " Armed forces Vocational Aptitude Battery"

  • - Voluntary foreign language translation or interpretation services offered by an individual who is registered on the National Foreign Language Skills Registry under Title 10 sec 1596b

  • - Voluntary services to support programs of a committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve as authorized by the Secretary of Defense

Statutes prohibit the Federal government from accepting
volunteer services in excess of that authorized by law, except in cases of emergency involving safety of human life or the protection of Federal property.

With continuing personnel cutbacks, the use of volunteers may become more attractive. Volunteer service programs involve complex issues which may require consultation between the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center and the activity's legal office prior to initiating such programs in a workcenter. The primary concern is to avoid violations of law and to protect managment, the volunteer, and the Federal government from potential legal and financial liabilities.

If a manager is interested in establishing a volunteer service program in his/her organization, contact the CPAC who will initiate official agreements with local schools and
universities to solicit student applications.

Content last reviewed: 6/23/2006-SWL


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This page was last revised: 6/23/2006