Volunteers and Workers’ Compensation | When it Applies and Why it Matters

Are your volunteers covered by your workers’ compensation policy or a separate volunteer policy? The difference affects more than you might think.

By Dan Conley

Back to school time is here! Among the teachers and students busying themselves with back to school activities and planning, you’ll find armies of volunteers lending their time and talents to school year prep as well.

Those volunteers are vital to our school systems. Make sure you know what your district would do if one of them were to get hurt or injured on the job.

Are volunteers covered by worker’s compensation if they don’t receive a paycheck?


Most times when a school, business or organization has volunteers performing work on its behalf, those volunteers are covered under the organization’s workers’ compensation policy. In the event a volunteer should get hurt, he or she would likely get the same benefits that a full-time employee of your organization would have. As your volunteer focuses on recovering, he or she won’t have to worry about medical bills or the money lost from time away from work.

In addition to any monetary benefits that could be paid for an injury or permanency award, the injured volunteer’s medical bills may also be covered for the life of the injury. Once an incident report is filed with the district, a claim will be run through the workers’ compensation board of whichever state the claim is filed in.

Be sure you are giving your volunteers the same safety training and risk management you give your employees. Some accidents are unavoidable but many can be prevented.

Your team, your insurance company and your budget will thank you in the long run. If you are one to volunteer like me, it’s helpful to understand the conditions surrounding the job.

For more information on the subject, feel free to reach out to discuss!

Dan Conley is a business risk specialist at OneGroup. He can be reached at 315-558-6771 or DConley@OneGroup.com.

This content is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing professional, financial, medical or legal advice. You should contact your licensed professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Please refer to your policy contract for any specific information or questions on applicability of coverage.

Please note coverage can not be bound or a claim reported without written acknowledgment from a OneGroup Representative.

Find this Article Helpful?

Visit our Library of Resources for More!

For Immediate assistance call 1-800-268-1830