Q How Does Workers’ Comp Affect Companies with Volunteers?
Whether a volunteer is covered by workers’ compensation depends on several factors, and most importantly the state in which you volunteer.
In most states, volunteers aren't considered employees and aren't covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Several states give employers the option to cover volunteers under their workers’ compensation insurance.
There are notable exceptions where volunteers can be covered. Some states require volunteer firefighters to be covered under workers’ compensation. In other states, volunteers who receive some form of compensation for their service may be covered. What constitutes compensation could be anything from providing a volunteer meals to providing transportation or room and board.
An example of this would be in Missouri, where state laws have a very broad definition of what constitutes an employee. Since the term employee is somewhat all-encompassing, corporate board members are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, even if they receive no actual monetary compensation for their services.
However, even in the example above, in Missouri, workers' comp doesn't apply to volunteers at 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations if a volunteer isn't paid some form of wage and they provide a purely charitable service that is completely voluntary. Employers who meet these standards may still opt to purchase insurance to cover their volunteers.
So as you can see, workers' compensation for volunteers can be tricky. Our office can help if you have question about workers' comp in Kansas City. Call us today at 816-842-7100 to speak with an attorney that will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Or you can click here to email us and schedule your free consultation.