Washington State University

Revised 10-04
Human Resource Services


PDF link


Many individuals volunteer their time to assist WSU departments in the conduct of official University activities. In order to assure that volunteers are covered for liability and workers' compensation, departments are to comply with provisions of this section. 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 S25 for procedures for injury reporting and filing workers' compensation claims. Section S25.20 provides procedures for reporting accidents, occupational illnesses, and workplace incidents.

Departments may direct questions to Human Resource Services (HRS); telephone 335-4521.


The responsible department ensures that the following criteria are met:


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

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 because the University is required to provide 4-H programs.

An employee performing the duties he or she is normally paid to perform is not a volunteer, however, an employee may volunteer for activities unrelated to normal job duties.


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:

The department submits this information to HRS each month on a Volunteer Monthly Report. See below 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 below.

Safety Orientation

Volunteers are subject to the same University requirements for safety procedures orientation and training as employees. See SPPM S20.30. Departments are to include documentation of safety orientation and training in the volunteer files.

Records Retention

The department is to maintain each volunteer file for six years after termination of service. See 90.01 for more about records retention.


Authorization Form

In order for a minor under the age of 18 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. To obtain copies of the form, print or complete and print the PDF master on 60.81.6.

The supervising department is to retain the Minor Volunteer Consent and Release form in accordance with applicable records retention requirements. See 90.01.


A minor volunteer under the age of 14 must be constantly supervised by an adult.

Background Checks

If an adult supervises minors without other adults present, the department is to screen the individual for criminal history before the volunteer activity occurs. Refer to the Washington State Patrol web site for information about criminal history screening.


The supervising department is to retain copies of criminal history background checks of volunteers in accordance with applicable records retention requirements. See 90.01.


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 "Form Templates" below.

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 the Payroll Services website at:


Select Taxes, then
Select Industrial Insurance/Medical Aid Rate History.

or contact HRS; telephone 335-4521; or Payroll Services; telephone 335-9575.

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. See 70.02 for an explanation of expenditure authority.

Payroll Services bills each department for premium charges on a quarterly basis.

Form Templates

To obtain copies of the form, the department may complete and print the PDF master form on 60.81.7 or may obtain an automated form template from the Procedures, Records, and Forms FileMaker Pro website at:


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 her or his 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 for six years after the end of the fiscal year. See 90.01 for records retention information.

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


If a volunteer is acting in good faith, within the scope of his or her volunteer assignment, he or she is covered under the Self-Insured Liability Program for claims made against him or her or WSU. Refer to the following website for more information regarding this program:



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

Cooperative Extension


4-H Volunteer Programs


Master Gardner Volunteers


Volunteer Management Certificate Program


See PDF master forms:
60.81.6: Minor Volunteer Consent and Release
60.81.7: Volunteer Monthly Report
Complete and/or print as needed