The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits employees from providing voluntary services to for-profit private sector employers. However, individuals are generally allowed to volunteer services to public sector employers, with one exception: public sector employers cannot allow their employees to volunteer additional time to perform the same work for which they are employed without compensation. No one employed in the private sector is prohibited from volunteering in any position or line of work in the public sector. Before committing to a volunteer job, it is important to consider if you have the right skills or experience for the position, if you will be able to work within a particular organization and volunteering structure, and if you have empathy for others.
Habitat AmeriCorps is a great opportunity for those in high school, college, or on a gap year between the two. Through this program, members can help strengthen communities in their area or across the country. Civic organizations can help in a protected workshop; men's or women's organizations can send members or students to hospitals or nursing homes; parents can help out in a school library or cafeteria; and young volunteers can hold a special place in the heart and work of Habitat Suffolk County in New York. Other volunteer opportunities include driving vehicles or folding bandages for the Red Cross, working with disabled children or disadvantaged youth, helping with programs for young people such as camp counselors, scout directors, foster mothers, providing child care assistance to working mothers in need, soliciting contributions or participating in benefit programs for charitable organizations, and offering other services necessary to carry out their charitable programs, educational or religious.
The Department of Labor follows judicial guidance when it comes to individuals who serve as unpaid volunteers in various community services. People who volunteer or donate their services, usually part-time, for public service, religious, or humanitarian purposes are not considered employees of the religious, charitable, or similar non-profit organizations that receive their service.