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Departments, HR and Texas A&M University-Commerce as a whole are required to follow federal law and System regulation with respect to volunteers and interns. Federal law limits qualifications for unpaid interns and volunteers, therefore, departments are encouraged to contact HR for assistance with determining whether or not they can have a unpaid intern or volunteer. 

Definition of "Volunteer"

29 CFR Section 553.101 defines "volunteer" as the following:

  • (a) 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 FLSA 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.
  • (b) 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 services.
  • (c) Individuals shall be considered volunteers only where their services are offered freely and without pressure or coercion, direct or implied, from an employer.
  • (d) 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.

For more information, visit the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29.

Here are a few key aspects of compliance:

  • Employees may NOT volunteer to do their own jobs nor activities closely related to their own jobs.
  • Generally speaking, students may perform voluntary work through student organizations and related activities.
  • However, students may NOT  work for Texas A&M University-Commerce as a volunteer, with the exception of unpaid internships which are part of their degree requirements and for which the student will receive course credit. See Internships for further details of Unpaid Internships.

In all other circumstances, people may volunteer to work at the University only for civic, humanitarian or charitable purposes. Please note that for volunteers who are not Texas A&M University-Commerce employees or students, it may be difficult to arrange computer access.

Volunteer Waiver forms ARE REQUIRED, and once completed, are retained in the department as documentation of the volunteer status.

Departments are also required to run background checks for unpaid interns and volunteers.

Background Check Authorization Form

Volunteer Waiver Indemnification and Medical Form

Texas A&M University System policy #33.99.08
Student Employment Section 5