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Why insuring volunteers is a good thing for employers

Volunteering is not only a good way to give back to the community, it is a way for employees to make charitable contributions when they may not have the income to do so. It is an essential win-win for companies, whether they are multi-national corporations or small startups.

Research from the National Conference on Citizenship and the Corporation for National and Community Service found that one in four adults volunteered through an organization. In fact, 7.9 billion volunteer hours were contributed in 2012 by more than 64 million Americans. The value of these volunteer hours amounted to nearly $175 billion.

With volunteering being such a widespread activity, employers should know the rules and regulations regarding the employment of volunteers. Essentially, should they be covered under the employer’s workers’ compensation policy? After all, injuries are very common in the workplace; from paper cuts, to sprained ankles to concussions stemming from falls. Moreover, these injuries are not exclusively limited to employees, as volunteers are just as susceptible to being hurt while on the job.

Because of this, it is important for an organization to review its workers’ compensation policy to determine if, and to what extent, volunteers can be covered. Additionally, it may be worth looking into a temporary accidental medical insurance reimbursement policy, that would protect it in the event a volunteer is injured. In the absence of such a policy, an injured volunteer may turn around and sue the organization for costs associated with the injury.

For additional questions about workers’ compensation and volunteering, an experienced attorney can help. 

Source: “Don’t overlook workers’ comp needs for volunteers,” Michael Stack, June 18, 2014

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