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HRDG 4230 - Section A - Responsibilities

Subchapter 4230
Volunteer Service Program
Section A - Responsibilities


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Supervisors will:

  • Ensure that no employee will be adversely affected by the use of volunteers, meaning that volunteer assignments should not be work normally performed by an employee under a classified job description.
  • Identify opportunities to utilize volunteer services to include determining volunteer assignments, equipment used, and worksite.
  • Develop description of the volunteer service assignment and duty schedule (e.g. hours per week M-F, skills required, level of physical activity, expected length of volunteer service).
  • Issue a Volunteer Assignment Letter with reporting instructions to the selected volunteer. The letter should document the assignment as “volunteer service” without compensation and include:
    • the name of the agency;
    • the general nature and purpose of the work assignment;
    • office title and duty location;
    • days/hours of work;
    • instructions for completing and submitting personnel security documents and fingerprints, if applicable; and
    • any other next steps.
  • Provide a copy of the Volunteer Assignment Letter to the VSPC.
  • Assign activity that is beneficial to the academic aims/career goals of student volunteers.
  • Adhere to appropriate Federal, State, local laws and standards regarding employment of minors to include abiding by Office of Personnel Management regulations at 5 CFR Part 308. and Department of Labor regulations 29 CFR Part 570. See Appendix F.
  • Ensure that the volunteer provides all required documents before the volunteer assignment begins.
  • Coordinate completion of required forms and submit the volunteer service documentation to the VSPC.
  • Seek guidance and assistance from the Human Resources Division, Personnel Security to determine appropriate background/security investigations, suitability adjudications, and personal identification verification before employment of volunteer.
  • Ensure all required documents for background/security checks for selected volunteers are completed and submitted to HR Personnel Security at least 1 full pay period prior to the designated start date of the volunteer.
  • Participate in training and orientation of volunteers to familiarize volunteers with the organization, their assigned activities, the procedures to document the number of hours of voluntary service, the policies, and procedures for obtaining reimbursement of incidental expenses, if applicable, policy and procedures regarding use of government equipment and services, and other relevant matters.
  • Ensure the volunteer has the appropriate license, training, test, and background checks before working in a hazardous area, working with firearms, or specialized equipment.
  • Ensure the volunteer provides the documentation of required license, training, and test as warranted before beginning assigned tasks.
  • Ensure the volunteer is made aware of the Standards of Ethical Conduct requirements.
  • Notify the Volunteer Service Program Coordinator if a volunteer is dropped from the Program or if there is a change in the volunteer’s status.

Human Resources Division (HRD)

HRD is responsible for ensuring that MRP complies with statutory, regulatory, and Departmental policy requirements and providing guidance and information to MRP agencies concerning use of the volunteer service program.

The HRD Director will designate a Volunteer Service Program Coordinator (VSPC) who will be responsible for monitoring the program and serve as agency contact with supervisors, volunteers, schools and other institutions interested in volunteer opportunities with MRP.

The Volunteer Service Program Coordinator will:

  • Provide guidance to supervisors on matters related to recruiting, training and documenting volunteer service to include conditions under which volunteers may perform volunteer assignments, who may serve as a student volunteer, and the appropriateness of volunteer assignments.
  • Assist supervisor with outreach activities and recruitment of volunteers
  • Ensure that copies of student transcripts and schedules of classes are received to verify that student volunteers meet eligibility criteria.
  • Receive the volunteer service agreement and ensure it is complete by all parties.
  • Ensure appropriate documents and forms relative to the volunteer’s service assignment are received and verified prior to the beginning of the volunteer’s service period.
  • Sign the volunteer service agreement in agreement to the volunteer service arrangement.
  • Establish and maintain official records of volunteers with respect to documents used to record volunteer service.
  • Request reports of volunteer service use from MRP programs as needed. Compile and submit reports on the use of volunteer service in MRP to the USDA, Office of Human Resources Management, Diversity, Recruitment, and Work/Life Division as required.

Personnel Security will:

Advise and assist supervisors on matters related to background/security investigations, suitability adjudications, and personal identification verification before assignment of the volunteer as warranted.


Volunteers are expected to:

  • be accountable in their offer of service, and keep their agreements with MRP;
  • become familiar with the structure and operations of the assigned MRP program;
  • contribute to a project directly related to the goals of one of the MRP Program’s mission office;
  • perform assignments as directed by the supervisor;
  • seek and accept the guidance and decisions of the supervisor;
  • work within the bounds of their assignment as set forth in the volunteer agreement description of service. Advise their supervisor if the assignment should be revised because of change in circumstance;
  • adhere to the rules of conduct of MRP and the Department of Agriculture;
  • respect access to information, facilities, and equipment and not disclose any information about an individual or other matter obtained through office records as a result of services rendered under their agreement.

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