Paid Employees Volunteering

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The question of paid employees also choosing to volunteer their time at Free Geek has become a more common one.

The official answer to this question in Oregon law is found in OAR 839-020-0046(3) (, which says, "Time spent in work for public or charitable purposes at the employer's request, or under its direction or control, or while the employee is required to be on the premises, is working time. Time spent voluntarily in such activities outside of the employee's normal working hours is not hours worked."

In plainer English: Free Geek can't ask paid employees to volunteer; if they choose to volunteer, Free Geek can't tell them how and when they can; they can't volunteer during a scheduled work shift. We all need to be respectful of boundaries and not pull people into their paid job duties when they are volunteering in a different area. Whatever it is, it can wait. If it really can't wait, that situation sounds like an emergency, and a manager should be informed immediately.

Not only will we not ask any paid employee who chooses to volunteer in other areas to do "work stuff" while they are volunteer, we will also never ask a paid employee to do the same tasks they perform as a volunteer while they are on paid time.