1. Policy Statement

This policy establishes a protocol for the engagement of volunteers and is designed to clarify the relationship of volunteers to the University of Florida, in order to minimize risk and provide protection for the interest of the volunteers, the University, and the community.

University departments and academic units that engage volunteers must enter each volunteer into the volunteer tracking system (myUFL) annually in order to document the engagement of the volunteer. Volunteer service expires annually, 365 days from service start date. Departments and academic units are responsible for oversight of all volunteer services, as well as for assessing risk associated with volunteer services.

2. Applicability

This policy applies to all volunteers of the University of Florida. There are tiers of volunteer affiliations at UF. Departments seeking to register volunteers into Tier II will be responsible for all costs associated with granting necessary access:

  • Tier I – Volunteer with no systematic or technological access to UF licensed software or systems
  • Tier II – Volunteer with systematic and/or technological access to UF licensed software and/or systems, to include Gatorlink credentials; no Gatorlink email access

2.1 Persons Not Considered University of Florida Volunteers

For purposes of this policy, individuals are not considered volunteers of the University of Florida when utilized in the following capacities:

  • Unpaid academic appointments: Individuals who have unpaid academic appointments to the university (such as courtesy faculty) are not considered UF volunteers when acting in that capacity. Note: They are eligible to become UF volunteers for purposes that are not related to the academic appointment.
  • Performing services for another entity: An individual is not a UF volunteer while performing volunteer services for any other entity that is not a university department or program (such as non-profit or government agency).
  • Performing services as a member of a group contracted by the University: Individuals are not UF volunteers if they are members of a group or organization which contracts with UF and receives payment to provide a service.
  • Guest lecturer: An individual who is invited to speak at a UF class, program, or event is not a volunteer.
  • Participant in human subject research: A person who agrees to serve as an experimental subject in a research project or clinical trial is not a volunteer.
  • Interns: A person who is completing a paid internship or an internship for academic credit is not considered a volunteer.
  • P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School Volunteer: P.K. Yonge has a separate volunteer program and is excluded from this policy.

3. Definitions

Volunteer: A volunteer is any person who, of his or her own free will, provides services to the University with no monetary or material compensation, on a continuous, occasional, or one-time basis.
Single-Day-Event Volunteer: A single-day-single-event volunteer is any person volunteering for a single event, that is 10 hours or less in length.
Responsible UF faculty/staff person: The responsible UF faculty/staff person is any person engaging volunteers for service.

4. Policy Specifics

Departments and academic units that engage volunteers must adhere to the following requirements:

4.1 Recruitment

Volunteers must be chosen based on qualifications and skills for the service they are being asked to perform.

4.2 Screening

Background checks are required for all volunteers working in UF-affiliated youth activities. The appropriate level of background checks must be completed prior to beginning to work with minors. Verification of Background Checks shall be kept on file for a minimum of five years.
See Florida Statute 409.175 for additional information.

4.3 Training

The responsible UF faculty/staff person must ensure that the volunteer is instructed/trained as necessary to ensure the volunteer has the knowledge and skills needed to perform his or her activities.

Youth Protection Training: All University of Florida-affiliated youth programs are responsible for ensuring that any program employees, volunteers, and other individuals directly in contact with minors under the age of 18 successfully complete an annual Youth Protection Training (course number YCS800) offered by the University of Florida.

4.4 Responsibility

The responsible UF faculty/staff person should communicate to the volunteer the expectations for attendance, performance of activities, and compliance with University policies and applicable laws.

  • Each department/operational unit shall record the number, location and duties of volunteers, and the total number of annual hours of volunteer service provided to the department.
  • Volunteers shall be advised that they are entitled to workers’ compensation and state liability protection under the same conditions as state employees. Volunteers shall be eligible for the other benefits listed in Sections 110.502 and 110.504, Fla. Stat., only as approved by the college, school, division or operational unit.
  • Volunteers shall perform volunteer services in a professional manner and in accordance with the policies and procedures of the University.

4.5 Utilization

Volunteers may be engaged under those circumstances deemed appropriate by the responsible University faculty/staff person. Any faculty or staff person that has concerns about the engagement of volunteers in a situation should discuss such concerns in advance with UF Human Resources.

4.6 Supervision

The responsible University faculty/staff person should provide direction and guidance to the volunteer as appropriate.

4.7 Release

Annual approval of volunteer services is required for each volunteer regardless of history or years of service. The department or academic unit may release a volunteer at any time, for any reason and without prior notice.

4.8 Social Media

Volunteers are subject to the University of Florida’s Social Media Policy.

  • Posting on Social Media Platforms: Refer to the University of Florida Human Resources Social Media Policy.
  • Creating Social Media Pages or Web Pages: Refer to section 4.10 – UF Social Media Account Authorization of the Social Media Policy which states: Authorization to present a social media account as an official university activity must come from the vice president with jurisdiction over one’s unit as well as the vice president for University Relations or his/her designee.

4.9 Minors

Volunteers who are under the age of 18 must provide a Parental Approval for Volunteer Service & Authorization to Treat Minors form. This form must be uploaded into the volunteer tracking system.

4.10 Nepotism

The UF Regulation 1.009, Employment of Relatives, specifically prohibits the appointment of relatives or persons living in the same household to any position where a direct or indirect supervisory relationship would exist between relatives or would create a perceived or actual conflict of interest. This extends to the approval of volunteer service.

4.11 Limitations

  1. A University of Florida employee may not volunteer to perform services for the university that are identical or similar to her or his duties as an employee.
  2. A former University of Florida employee may not volunteer to perform services for the university that are identical or similar to her or his duties as an employee.
  3. A person is only considered a volunteer if her or his services were rendered of their own free will, without pressure or coercion.
  4. Volunteers may not be used as a replacement of an employee position.
  5. Any individual who appears on the Florida Sexual Predator Registry, Florida Sex Offender List, Florida Department of Corrections Offender Network, National Sexual Predator Registry, or Online Wanted Persons Search shall not serve in a volunteer capacity for the University of Florida or affiliated organizations.
  6. All volunteers shall be at least 14 years of age.
  7. The University of Florida does not allow volunteer service from any foreign national not authorized to work in the United States. Examples include: H-4, O-3, L-2, F-2, M-2, TD, R-2, B1/B2.
  8. Current employees working on an H-1B visa may be eligible to volunteer, only if the work would typically be performed by unpaid volunteers. Immigration Compliance Services in UFHR must be contacted for approval prior to any volunteer service.
  9. Current J-2 visa holders are also prohibited from volunteer service unless they have employment authorization/EAD Card.
  10. Single-Day-Event volunteers may be tracked in either the Volunteer Tracking System (myUFL) or via the Single-Day-Event Volunteer Form. Single-Day-Event Volunteer Forms should be kept on file with the individual department.

4.12 Institutional Recovery and COVID-19

Volunteers are required to abide by the University of Florida Institutional Recovery and COVID-19 Return to Workplace policy, as determined by department leadership.

5. Review and Adjudication

The following is the department, office, or individual is responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. Any individual with questions about the policy should contact the following departments:

UFHR Talent Acquisition and Onboarding
903 W. University Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-2477
talent@hr.ufl.edu

6. Policy Violations

Faculty and staff of the University of Florida who fail to comply with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.