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Volunteers coverage
An overview of volunteers and Ohio workers' compensation

Generally, volunteers are not considered employees for purposes of Ohio workers’ compensation. However, some volunteers performing emergency service duties must be covered under Ohio workers’ compensation law. Public employers may also elect to cover certain volunteers performing non-emergency duties.

Volunteers performing emergency service duties

Private employers

Volunteers, such as firefighters, who provide emergency service duties for private employers, are generally not covered by workers' compensation because they receive no wages.

Public employers

Public employers, such as cities, counties, townships, villages and other public employer taxing districts, are required to carry workers' compensation coverage for their volunteer emergency service personnel.

Examples of volunteer emergency service duties would be:

  • Volunteer firefighters.
  • Volunteer auxiliary police officers.
  • Volunteer emergency medical technicians.

Reportable wages for volunteer emergency service personnel are subject to minimum payroll reporting requirements. You must report at least $300 per volunteer per year subject to a policy minimum of $4,500. If the volunteer's wages exceed $300, you must report their actual payroll. Refer to Reporting payroll for more information.

Volunteers performing non-emergency duties

Private employers and non-profit organizations

Individuals performing non-emergency volunteer services for private employers, including for non-profit organizations such as churches, are not covered under the workers' compensation policy of that organization.

Public employers

Public employers, such as state agencies and political subdivisions, may elect to cover volunteers who perform non-emergency duties. Political subdivisions include cities, counties, townships, villages, and other public employer taxing districts. Volunteers who perform non-emergency duties include persons assigned volunteer work instead of a fine or jail sentence and individuals picking up trash in parks.

Public employers may elect to cover these volunteers for workers' compensation by submitting a Contract for Coverage of State Agency or Political Subdivision (U-69) to BWC. Refer to the form for application and reporting requirements.