May 23, 2007

Nonprofit Employees and Volunteers

Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) provides that true volunteer activities are not impeded or discouraged while minimizing the risk that the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements were being abused by employers. Amending the act in 1985, Congress made clear that a volunteer may receive “no compensation,” but may be paid “expenses, reasonable benefits, or a nominal fee.” An individual will be considered a volunteer under the FLSA if the individual:
(1) performs hours of service for a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for services rendered; although a volunteer can be paid expenses, reasonable benefits, or a nominal fee to perform such services;
(2) offers services freely and without pressure or coercion; and
(3) is not otherwise employed by the same public agency to perform the same type of services as those for which the individual proposes to volunteer. This last provision is explored in a newsletter available here.