While volunteer (or advocacy) efforts of library employees are highly beneficial and appreciated, they are not included in the job responsibilities of any branch employee, and are therefore not subject to compensation.  The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) dictates that public sector employees are conducting volunteer work for the public agency by which they are employed only when the work is not closely related to the actual duties performed by or responsibilities assigned to that employee.  Public sector employees may volunteer to do any type of volunteer work for a different public agency.

Volunteer activities are allowed to occur during a branch’s normal hours of operation, only when the following conditions are met:

  1. The employee’s job responsibilities can be met during their normal work hours or through work schedule adjustments occurring within the branch’s normal hours of operation, during the same work week.
  2. Volunteer efforts don’t interfere with the branch’s normal hours of operation.
  3.  The library is not required to pay additional staff in order to facilitate volunteer efforts.

Please review to the employee’s associated job description for a complete listing of job responsibilities.

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Policy’s Procedural Implementation - 06.2014

Volunteer efforts can be supported and are encouraged, but do require pre-approval and coordination with management to ensure that (1) employees are properly compensated for their time, (2) supporting the volunteer efforts does not negatively interfere with the staffing requirements of the library, and (3) the volunteer efforts that require compensation do not have a negative impact on the library’s budget.

Here are a few questions to assist employees in evaluating volunteer activities:

1. Were you asked to participate in an activity because of your association with the library or because of your personal activities?  If you were asked because of your association with the library, then your time needs to be compensated.

2.  Is the volunteer work closely related to the library’s work?  An example of work that is closely related to the library’s work is participation in Friends of the Library events.  Where volunteer work is closely related to the library’s work, your time needs to be compensated.

3.  Are library resources being used to support your volunteer work?  This may indicate that compensation is due.  Such situations should be reviewed by management.

4. Do your volunteer efforts set an expectation that the library will support similar efforts - i.e. does the group or organization receiving your volunteer efforts view you as an individual or as a representative of the library?  If the latter, then your time needs to be compensated and the library will need to establish procedures for ensuring that expectations are set appropriately.

All new volunteer outlets must be pre-approved by the Library Director.  The Director will work with library staff to establish, document, and support a list of recognized volunteer outlets.  All staff members are strongly encouraged to advise the Director of any volunteer opportunities in which they are personally interested so that the Director can work to support such efforts.

The message that employees should receive from these procedures is that volunteer efforts are strongly encouraged,  but must be coordinated with the Director to ensure that (1) the library remains in compliance with Fair Labor standards, (2) staff are protected from inappropriate expectations regarding library use of their personal time, and (3) volunteer efforts can be best supported by the library in light of changing personnel and positions.

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STAFF Q&A - 06.2014

Q: What if you are a library employee and a member of the Friends organization and want to help out at say a book sale booth at a festival?

Q: What if you are asked to speak at a club meeting during normal business hours? And yes, representing the library?

Q. Do all of these things have to be approved by the director?

<END OF STAFF Q&A>

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