Nonprofit Law/volunteer hours


QUESTION: If I have any employee who is salaried but chooses to volunteer on his or her time off am I at risk for having to pay them for that time should they become disgruntled and complain to the labor board?  I only have two employees and they both want to volunteer when they are not working.  I depend on volunteers for most of our business.

Thanks in advance for any help.


ANSWER: I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions relating to IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. Your question is about employment law. But I will direct you to the U.S. Labor Department
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In circumstances where individuals who are regular employees of religious, charitable, or non-profit organizations donate services as volunteers to such organizations but in a different employment capacity, the time so spent is not considered compensable under the FLSA because the Wage and Hour Division will not claim that an employee/employer relationship exists for that different employment capacity. For example, office employees of the Association or one of its volunteer companies may volunteer to provide EMS during off-duty hours as an act of charity. On the other hand, such a regular office employee may not volunteer uncompensated to handle office work arising from a special fund drive or other operations of the Association or one if its volunteer companies.
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Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.    

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QUESTION: The answer is yes they want to volunteer a few hours a week to help each other out.  There are 2 managers (co-managers).  They work different hours.  One works 4 days the other 2 days.  They want to be able to come in and work with the other manager to help out.  I don't know if I can allow this.  I am a small non-profit thrift store.  501c 3.  They are both salaried.  I looked on the DOL site and checked the FLSA and it looks like that if I make under $500,000.00 a year my 2 managers are not covered by the FLSA.  Thank you so much for your time and help.


It appears that they would be working in the same "employment capacity".  As for whether your organization is not covered by the FLSA (or state law), that would be beyond the scope of my offer of free services.  

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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