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Risk Procedures

Summary: These guidelines are intended to help promote a productive, safe and mutually beneficial environment for volunteers and for the campus by setting appropriate expectations and clarifying roles and responsibilities for both volunteers and their sponsoring department.

1. Volunteer Definition

An individual is acting as a volunteer if the service provided meets all of the following three conditions:

  1. The service is provided directly to the University; and
  2. The service is performed under the University’s supervision; and
  3. The service is entirely uncompensated; in exchange for the performance of the service, the volunteer derives no academic recognition or any other form of tangible benefit.

The following is NOT considered volunteer service:

  1. The service is given in exchange for academic credit, for academic recognition or for similar academic benefit.
  2. The service is compensated by an external, non-University organization (e.g. visiting scholars receiving support from home institutions)
  3. The service is provided by an individual affiliated with an external, non-University organization (e.g. Red Cross).
  4. The service is provided pursuant to a court order, fine, restitution agreement, or similar directive.

2. Procedures and Guidelines

  1. Departments are the office of record for campus volunteers providing service within their divisions/departments. The unit head is delegated authority to secure the services of a campus volunteer.
  2. It is not necessary to process employment forms or to have volunteers "sign-up" through the Human Resources Office.
  3. The following documents are completed prior to the commencement of the volunteer assignment:

Volunteer completes:

  1. Volunteer Information Form Section A (parent/guardian must sign if volunteer is under 18 years of age)
  2. Volunteer Waiver and Release of Liability (parent/guardian must sign if volunteer is under 18 years of age)
  3. Patent Acknowledgment Form(if using University research facilities)
  4. Consent for Background Investigation(if applicable per #4 below)
  5. Release of Driver Record Information(if operating a UC Merced vehicle)

Department completes:

  1. Volunteer Information Form Section B (retain original and distribute copy to volunteer, Risk Services and Human Resources)
  2. Request for Live Scan Service (if applicable per #4 below)
  3. Volunteers are not required to be entered into the Payroll/Personnel System and to sign the University of California Oath of Allegiance.
  4. Certain volunteers who perform sensitive tasks, such as the care and security of animals or driving a UC vehicle, may be required to submit to, and satisfactorily complete, a criminal background check or a DMV license check. For more information and examples of sensitive tasks, go to Human Resources Background Check procedures.
  5. Departments are responsible to ensure that volunteers in research labs follow general and laboratory specific safety practices as outlined in the Laboratory Safety Plan.
  6. If the prospective volunteer is in the United Stated on a visa, federal law may restrict certain volunteer activities. It is the visa holder's responsibility to be aware of whether the terms of their visa allow him or her to perform short-term unpaid work.
  7. Department retains all documents relating to volunteer assignments in the departmental files for a period of three years.

3. Insurance Coverage

  1. Volunteers may be covered by the UC General Liability Program when acting within the capacity and scope of the volunteer assignment. The Volunteer Information and Volunteer Acknowledgment forms should have been completed prior to the volunteer working in the volunteer assignment for coverage to be in effect.
  2. The UC General Liability Program is for claims of negligence and may provide for coverage arising out of the official activities of an authorized volunteer. Otherwise, all medical concerns, including healthcare insurance, are the responsibility of the volunteer. In addition, University Counsel does not provide legal services if criminal charges are lodged against a volunteer.
  3. The volunteer should immediately notify the department of any injury or any damage to University property.
  4. If there is an incident that may result in claims of negligence against the University, the department should document and report the circumstances to the campus Risk Services office.

4. Contact Information

Volunteer Procedure and Insurance Coverage – Risk Services

Background Checks – Human Resources

DMV Pull Program – Transportation & Parking Services

Laboratory Safety Training – Environmental Health & Safety