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Federal Highway Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
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Order
Subject
FHWA Personnel Management Manual; Part 1: Personnel Systems & Procedures, Chapter 2: Employment, Section 6: Volunteer Service
Classification Code Date
M3000.1C January 14, 2004  

  1. What is the purpose of this section?
  2. What references were used when writing this section?
  3. What is the background concerning this section?
  4. What are the objectives of the Volunteer Service Program?
  5. What are the key definitions used in this section?
  6. What is FHWA's service agreement for student volunteers?
  7. What are the status and eligibility requirements for students?
  8. How will volunteer service be documented?
  9. How will equal opportunity be provided for everyone?
  10. How will the personnel security requirements be maintained?
  11. Who will maintain and update the reporting requirements?

 

  1. What is the purpose of this section? The purpose of this section is to establish procedures and guidance for implementing and documenting the Volunteer Service Program in the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

  2. What references were used when writing this section?

    1. Section 3111 of Title 5, United States Code (U.S.C.), Acceptance of Volunteer Service. http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fastweb.exe?getdoc+uscview+t05t08+206+32++%28%27volunte

    2. Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Public Law (P.L.) 95-454, Title III, Section 301.

    3. Department of Transportation (DOT) Departmental Personnel Manual 308-33, Annual Report of Student Volunteer Service, http://dothr.ost.dot.gov/HRPolicy/308-33.pdf, and 308-35, Stay-in-School Ceiling Allocations, http://dothr.ost.dot.gov/HRPolicy/308-35.pdf

    4. DOT Order 1630.2, DOT Personnel Security Handbook.

    5. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Guide to Processing Personnel Actions, Chapter 33, Documentation of Volunteer Service, http://www.opm.gov/feddata/gppa/Gppa33.pdf

  3. What is the background concerning this section? The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-454) authorized the Federal Government Volunteer Student Service. Other volunteer service under programs for persons other than students is defined in the individual laws and regulations authorizing those programs such as Veterans opportunities or Vocational Rehabilitation volunteers.

  4. What are the objectives of the Volunteer Service Program? The FHWA actively supports the establishment of rehabilitation and/or educationally related work assignments for students in a non-pay status, as long as their work contributes to accomplishing the agency mission and staff resources permit adequate supervision. The program objectives of the FHWA Volunteer Service are:

    1. To enrich the educational experience and provide opportunities for students to become involved in early career exploration.

    2. To bring about a stronger relationship between the efforts of educators and the occupational needs of Federal employers and students, and as a means to encourage student interest in new and emerging occupations.

    3. To provide on-the-job work experience and opportunities for students to become involved in early career exploration as a basis for making realistic decisions regarding their future careers.

    4. To provide exposure to the work environment as a means of encouraging students to develop work ethics and to acquaint them with various Federal missions.

    5. To support workforce diversity initiatives and affirmative action programs through a career awareness approach.

  5. What key definitions are used in this section?

    1. Agreement. A written document developed jointly between a school or Veteran’s organization and the FHWA to outline the responsibilities of each organization. It should be used to identify the conditions or limitations under which volunteers may receive unpaid career-related experience. Included in such agreements should be the mutually agreed upon method for maintenance of attendance and performance records, particularly if the student career-related assignment is recognized by the school for course credit.

    2. Student. An individual who is enrolled not less than half-time in an accredited high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior college, college, university, or other accredited educational institution. Certification of half-time academic workload can be obtained from the student's school. A student is deemed not to have ceased being a student during an interim between school years if that period is not more than 5 months. The student must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FHWA that he or she has a firm intention of continuing to pursue a course of study or training in the same or different educational institution during the school term immediately after the interim period of absence.

    3. Volunteer Service. Under Title 5 U.S.C. 3111 limited services performed by a student, with the permission of the institution at which the student is enrolled, in an FHWA office for the purpose of gaining on-the-job educational experience. This service is to be uncompensated and will not be used to displace any employee or to fill a position that is a normal part of FHWA's workforce.

  6. What is FHWA's service agreement for student volunteers? FHWA offices should work with their servicing human resources office to develop student volunteer programs best suited to meet students' individual needs. Written agreements are mandatory. (See Attachment) Volunteer programs will be conducted through written agreements with educational institutions, nonprofit organizations officially designated by schools, and boards of education to coordinate the placement of students in non-paid work assignments without fee. Agreements should normally be signed by managers (Associate Administrator, the Chief Counsel, Directors of Field Services, Resource Center Managers, Division Administrators and Federal Lands Highway Division Engineers) and must be reviewed by the servicing human resources office before students begin their work assignments.

  7. What are the status and eligibility requirements for students?

    1. Minimum Age. Students must meet minimum age requirements of Federal, State and local laws regarding the employment of minors. If a student is under 18 years of age, the servicing human resources office must ensure that projected work assignment is not in an occupation considered to be hazardous or detrimental to the student’s health and well-being.

    2. Status. Students participating in this program are not considered to be Federal employees other than for purposes of Federal Tort claims arising as a result of student participation, or for injuries sustained during the performance of work assignments under worker's compensation claims.

    3. Benefits. Student volunteers are not entitled to benefits, i.e., travel subsistence expenses, housing, or any other reimbursement or payment.

    4. Maximum Service Hours. Federal agencies are required to establish time limits on the amount of volunteer service accepted from a specific individual, to avoid situations that imply that service with an agency during the school year will ensure a job in the future. For the purpose of this program, individual student volunteers will be limited to a maximum of two semesters or 1,040 total hours of work.

  8. How will volunteer service be documented?

    1. General. Although volunteers are not Federal employees, their service may be creditable as related experience under examination rating schedules. Additionally, some participating schools, that award course credit for such service, may require certification of periods during which students rendered service. Volunteer service should be documented through a letter. A Standard Form (SF) 50 cannot be used to document volunteer appointments.

    2. Entrance-on-Duty. The letter prepared upon entrance on duty for volunteer assignments should document the service as "volunteer service-without compensation" and include a) name of the agency; b) position title; c) office title and duty location; and d) days/hours on duty. In addition, the statement should contain language such as:

      1. (1)   “Under 5 U.S.C. 3111, a student volunteer is not a Federal employee for any purposes other than injury compensation and law related to the Tort Claims Act. Service is not creditable for leave or any other employee benefits” (for student volunteers);” or

      2. (2)   “Volunteer service is not creditable for leave or any other employee benefits” (for volunteers other than students.)”

    3. Separations. When the period of volunteer service has ended, a letter is prepared to document the following: a) inclusive dates of service; b) total hours or days worked; and c) guidance on how the agency may be contacted regarding future requests to obtain documentation of volunteer service.

    4. Records. For each volunteer, the servicing human resources office will establish a file which contains copies of assignments, appointment, termination, and resumes. The servicing human resources office should retain the document for 5 years.

    5. Statement of Duties. A "statement of duties" must be developed outlining the duties, responsibilities, and expected products that the volunteer is expected to generate during the work assignment. Copies will be provided to the volunteer, the supervisor, the servicing human resources office for placement in the volunteer’s file, and to the school if academic credit is being granted for the service. Human resources offices and managers should also make students aware of the standards of conduct, record privacy, and disclosure that pertain to their work assignments.

  9. How will equal opportunity be provided for everyone?

    1. FHWA managers are responsible for providing leadership in establishing, maintaining, and carrying out a continuing program designed to promote equal employment opportunity in support of a diverse workforce. Equal opportunity applies to employment, development, advancement, and treatment of employees, including the selection of student volunteers without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap, even though they are not deemed to be Federal employees.

    2. Managers should also be cognizant of the fact that students who volunteer must be in a financial position to render service without compensation.

  10. How will the personnel security requirements be maintained? Each administration is required to comply with personnel security requirements. Therefore, if a volunteer is expected to serve for a period of more than 90 days, the servicing human resources office must initiate the appropriate National Agency Check and Written Inquiry for the volunteer.

  11. Who will maintain and update the reporting requirements? Each servicing human resources office should provide the Office of Human Resources, Human Resources Services Group, HAHR-22, a report on all volunteer assignments during the preceding fiscal year by November 15 of each year.


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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT MANUAL

Attachment

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SAMPLE AGREEMENT
STUDENT VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and (name of school), hereinafter referred to as the "School," agree to establish a student volunteer service program pursuant to Section 301 of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, Public Law 95-454, 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 3111, and Chapter 308 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

  1. Benefits to FHWA. Participation in this program enables FHWA to maintain close ties with the academic community. This will have long-term benefits in the development of FHWA's recruiting program, and increased understanding of FHWA's programs by those who participate. Short-term benefits to FHWA should be realized from the contributions of students participating in the program.

  2. Benefits to the School. The School is expected to benefit by having its students develop an understanding of the programs and administrative practices of FHWA. Supervisors will evaluate the student's work and will participate in the student's education and development by providing on-the-job experience to supplement classroom instruction.

  3. Responsibilities of FHWA.

    1. The student will be under the supervision of a designated, experienced FHWA employee who, at the end of the work assignment, will evaluate the student's service. This evaluation will be made available both to the School and to the student.

    2. The program established by FHWA will include to the extent feasible:

      1. (1)    participation by the student in the work of the office so that the student may develop an understanding of the FHWA's programs; and

      2. (2)    assignment of the student to specific projects which will require the student to work with personnel in operating offices in furthering FHWA’s mission.

    3. FHWA will supply the student with the supervision, workspace, supplies, and reference material needed to accomplish the tasks assigned.

    4. FHWA will establish a service schedule for the student. Students may register for such academic credit for the work experience, as the School may consider appropriate. Time and attendance records will be kept, and a report of the student’s attendance will be included in the evaluation required by paragraph 3a above. The student will not be expected to serve during the academic holidays.

    5. FHWA will also provide the student with a "statement of duties," outlining the duties, responsibilities, and expected products that the student is expected to generate during the work assignment.

  4. Responsibilities of the School. The School is responsible for nominating students to participate in the program as established by this agreement, with final selection made by FHWA. The School agrees to nominate students without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factors.

  5. General Understandings.

    1. Students participating under this program are not to be considered Federal employees other than for purposes of:

      1. (1)   Federal Tort Claims provisions published in 28 U.S.C. 2671 through 2680. Claims arising as a result of student participation should be referred to the FHWA Office of Chief Counsel (for field positions the appropriate Resource Center Legal Services office).

      2. (2)   Title 5, U.S.C. Chapter 81, relative to compensation for injuries sustained during the performance of work assignments. Claims related to injuries should be referred through the servicing Human Resources Office to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, U.S. Department of Labor, for adjudication.

    2. The FHWA may on occasion be unable to provide the service and experience required by this agreement for any given semester, and upon notice to the School, no later than two weeks prior to registration for that academic semester, this agreement will not apply.

    3. The School is not required to have a student participating in any given semester, but must notify FHWA in a timely manner whether or not a student will be nominated to participate during that semester.

    4. The scope of the program will be established to the mutual satisfaction of FHWA and the School at the beginning of each academic semester.

    5. Registered students of the School may be considered for service in the FHWA Office of (name of work unit) under the supervision of an FHWA employee. Participating students will receive no monetary compensation for their service at FHWA; however, the School may grant academic credit if it chooses to do so.

    6. FHWA may terminate a particular student at any time for such reasons as: (1) failure to conform to the agreed upon schedule of service, (2) failure to complete assigned projects, (3) and failure to abide by regulations governing behavior of all FHWA employees. FHWA will provide the School with a written statement setting forth the reasons for such termination in lieu of the evaluation required by paragraph 3a.

    7. Either party may terminate this agreement upon not less than 30 days written notice. Such termination normally will not be effected until the end of the current semester for any participating student.

NAME OF SCHOOL

SIGNATURE AND TITLE OF SCHOOL REPRESENTATIVE

DATE

FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION

SIGNATURE AND TITLE OF FHWA REPRESENTATIVE

DATE

Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000