Skip to content

Volunteers Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act

1999 August 5

VOLUNTEERS under the
federal Fair Labor Standards Act

Questions are being asked about whether or not an employee of a law enforcement agency may also serve as a volunteer for that agency.

Following is the pertinent portion of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Volunteer” defined

Standard Number: 553.101
Standard Title: “Volunteer” defined.
SubPart Number: B
SubPart Title: Volunteers

An individual who performs hours of service for a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered, is considered to be a volunteer during such hours. Individuals performing hours of service for such a public agency will be considered volunteers for the time so spent and not subject to sections 6, 7, and 11 of the FSLA when such hours of service are performed in accord with sections 3(e)(4) (A) and (B) of the FLSA and the guidelines in this subpart.

Congress did not intend to discourage or impede volunteer activities undertaken for civic, charitable, or humanitarian purposes, but expressed its wish to prevent any manipulation or abuse of minimum wage or overtime requirements through coercion or undue pressure upon individuals to “volunteer” their service.

Individuals shall be considered volunteers only where there services are offered freely and without pressure or coercion, direct or implied, from an employer.

An individual shall not be considered a volunteer if the individual is otherwise employed by the same public agency to perform the same type of services as those for which the individual proposes to volunteer.

From the above it should be clear that the fact that a person is employed by a law enforcement agency does not prohibit that person from serving as a volunteer. However, if a person is paid fulltime as a police dispatcher, and in spare time volunteers as a volunteer police reserve officer, that person may perform duties such as patrol, but not be assigned as a dispatcher; nor should a fulltime paid detention guard be assigned as a volunteer reserve deputy assigned to jail duty.

Revised 5 August 1999

Return to Home Page

Leave a Reply

Note: You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS