Can you be a volunteer and not get paid?

This has been an interesting issue for some time. The Fair Labor Standards Act sets rules for the payment of minimum wage and overtime. But a volunteer gets no pay. What are the rules? The Department of Labor and a recent Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decisions states that a volunteer does not get paid if the person is truly doing volunteer type work for a public entity (i.e. public School) and expects no pay. However the public entity can cross the line when it starts requiring public employees to volunteer on their time off. Also volunteering is still allowed if it is for a nonprofit and the work being done is nonprofit volunteer type work with no expectation of pay. The issue that I am seeing more and more in El Paso Texas and Las Cruces New Mexico is where for profit companies start requiring their paid employees to do volunteer work on the companies or bosses favorite charity. This can clearly become a required volunteer and as such they are entitled to pay. If your boss is requiring you to volunteer on your unpaid time then you may have ami I’m wage or overtime claim. Also if you complain about being fired for not being paid you may have a claim for wrongful termination. You should consult a texas board certified employment lawyer if you live in Texas and confront such an issue..

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