Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 60: Personnel


BPPM 60.81

For more information contact:
   Human Resource Services / 509-335-4521


1.0   Policy

Many individuals volunteer their time to assist WSU departments in the conduct of official University activities. To ensure that volunteers are covered for liability and workers’ compensation, departments are to comply with provisions of this policy.

Note: Workers’ compensation for volunteers covers medical loss but not wage loss. University employee policies apply to volunteers, including policies in the Business Policies and Procedures Manual (BPPM), Safety Policies and Procedures Manual (SPPM), Executive Policy Manual (EPM), and other University policy manuals. See SPPM Chapter 2 for procedures for injury reporting and filing workers’ compensation claims. SPPM 2.24 provides procedures for reporting accidents, occupational illnesses, and workplace incidents. Departments may direct questions to Human Resource Services (HRS); telephone 509-335-4521.

2.0   Definition

The responsible department ensures that the following criteria are met:

  • A volunteer performs assigned and authorized duties for WSU without receiving wages.
  • The volunteer freely chooses to perform their assigned WSU duties.
  • The volunteer duties directly benefit WSU and are supervised by WSU personnel.
  • WSU understands and accepts that the volunteer is acting on WSU’s behalf.
  • A volunteer is designated as such by a WSU department and is registered. See Section 3.
  • WSU may reimburse a volunteer for actual expenses incurred in the performance of assigned and authorized duties without the volunteer losing the volunteer designation.
  • Departments engaging minor volunteers must comply with EP14. See also Section 4.2.

2.1   Examples / Explanations

There are many scenarios for volunteer service to the University.  The following examples/explanations are not meant to be exhaustive:

  • Interns receiving class credit may be considered volunteers if the assigned duties benefit WSU and the interns do not receive payment for services rendered.
  • Students performing duties for student clubs are not volunteers.
  • 4-H volunteers are considered to be University volunteers. The University is required to provide 4-H programs, and 4-H programs are carried out primarily by volunteers.
  • Employees performing the duties they are normally paid to perform are not volunteers, however, employees may volunteer for activities unrelated to normal job duties.

3.0   Designation / Registration

Applying the above criteria, the supervising department designates each volunteer as such. In order to ensure coverage under workers’ compensation and to ensure that the University is covered for liability purposes, volunteer designation must occur before any duties are performed. The department is to maintain records for each volunteer which include the following information:

  • Name of volunteer
  • Name of department
  • Month of activity
  • Dates, times, and hours of activity performed by the volunteer
  • Description of volunteer services provided
  • Name of department employee who supervised the volunteer
  • University account number that supports workers’ compensation premium charges (see BPPM 30.07)
  • Expenditure authority name, telephone, and e-mail address

The department submits this information to HRS each month on a Volunteer Monthly Report. See Section 5 for form instructions. Note: The department may also use the Volunteer Monthly Report form for designation reporting purposes. Payroll Services uses this information to charge the workers’ compensation quarterly premium to the supervising department. HRS uses this information to provide documentation of volunteer activity in the event a volunteer files a workers’ compensation or other liability claim. See also Section 6 regarding liability claims.

3.1   Safety Orientation

Volunteers are subject to the same University requirements for safety procedures orientation and training as employees (see SPPM 2.16). Departments are to include documentation of safety orientation and training in the volunteer files.

3.2   Records Retention

The department is to route volunteer records to Human Resource Services for retention of the primary record for the University for 40 years after termination of service. The department maintains copies of each volunteer file for as long as is needed for administrative purposes.

See BPPM 90.01 for more about records retention. See also the All-University Records Retention Schedule–Payroll and Personnel Records table regarding personnel employment history files (including for volunteers).

4.0   Minors

4.1   Authorization Form

For a minor under 18 years of age to volunteer for University duties, a parent or legal guardian must complete and sign a Minor Volunteer Consent and Release form. The form provides permission for the minor to perform the volunteer work and provides authorization for the supervising adult to seek any necessary medical attention in the event of an injury or illness. The supervising department is to retain the Minor Volunteer Consent and Release form in accordance with applicable records retention requirements (see BPPM 90.01 and the All-University Records Retention Schedule–Payroll and Personnel Records table).

4.2   Supervision

A minor volunteer under 14 years of age must be constantly supervised by an adult. Note: Minors under 15 years of age are not permitted to volunteer in WSU laboratories. See EP 14, Appendix A.

4.2.a   Background Checks

Washington State Law requires all adult employees, students, or volunteers who supervise or work with minors under 16 years of age without other adults present to submit to a criminal history screening by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) before the volunteer activity occurs. See also RCW 43.43.830.

If a background check is required for an adult, detailed procedures for completing the process are available from WSU Human Resource Services (HRS); telephone 509-335-4521; e-mail See also BPPM 60.16.

The department retains copies of all criminal history background checks of individuals in accordance with University records retention requirements (see BPPM 90.01). See also the All-University Records Retention Schedule–Payroll and Personnel Records table regarding retention of background clearance checks.

4.3   Minors in Laboratories

Additional limitations, requirements, and authorizations apply regarding minor volunteers in WSU laboratories. See EP 14, Appendix A.

5.0   Monthly Report

The department submits a completed Volunteer Monthly Report to HRS by the 15th of the month following each month of activity to report volunteer hours. See Subsection 5.1 regarding form templates. The department is assessed a premium per volunteer hour for workers’ compensation coverage. The premium rate is subject to change. For current rate, go to Payroll Services; select Taxes, then select Medical Aid/Worker’s Compensation.

Contact HRS; telephone 509-335-4521, or Payroll Services; telephone 509-335-9575 for more information. Note: If the department does not report or under reports hours, volunteers may not be covered in the event of an accident or work-related illness. The Volunteer Monthly Report includes the coding of the departmental account supporting premium charges. The form is signed by an employee holding expenditure authority for the indicated account. Payroll Services bills each department for premium charges on a quarterly basis.

5.1   Form Templates

The Volunteer Monthly Report is available in PDF.

5.1.a Automated Template (Preferred Reporting Format)

HRS recommends the use of the automated template for any department that reports volunteers. The department submits the automated monthly report as an e-mail attachment sent to HRS. For audit purposes, the departmental expenditure authority must send the e-mail message and attachment from their own e-mail account. The e-mail password authorization indicates approval to accept the premium charges. HRS retains the e-mail message from the departmental expenditure authority with the personnel employment history files. See BPPM 90.01 and the All-University Records Retention Schedule–Payroll and Personnel Records table for records retention information.

Contact Policies, Records, and Forms for assistance with using the automated form templates; telephone 509-335-2005.

6.0   Liability Claims

If a volunteer is acting in good faith, within the scope of his or her volunteer assignment, they are covered under the Self-Insured Liability Program for claims made against them or WSU. Refer to Risk Management for more information regarding this program.

7.0   Additional Resources

Additional University volunteer information resources include, but are not limited to, the following:

Revisions:  Sept. 2023 (Rev. 614); Feb. 2021 (Rev. 563); Oct. 2004 (Rev. 249); Jan. 2002 – new policy (Rev. 201).