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Below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the policy on unpaid volunteers, interns, and visiting scholars.

Engagement of an unpaid volunteer, intern or visiting scholar requires the advance approval of Employment and Staffing in the Office of Human Resources (OHR). The following procedures apply:

  • Department completes the Unpaid Volunteer, Intern and Visiting Scholar Form
  • Department faxes or mails the Unpaid Volunteer, Intern and Visiting Scholar Form to Talent Acquisition Partner.
  • Talent Acquisition Partner reviews forms and consults with department.
  • If request complies with policy and is conditionally approved, HR Representative sends invitation for the unpaid volunteer, intern or visiting scholar to complete a background check.
  • Once background check results are returned to the Talent Acquisition Partner, Partner communicates results to department.
  • If results allow for engagement of unpaid volunteer, intern or visiting scholar, Talent Acquisition Partner emails department with final written approval.
  • Department obtains the volunteer/intern/visiting scholar’s signature for the Release of Liability for Volunteers, Interns and Visiting Scholars.
  • Department retains Unpaid Volunteer, Intern and Visiting Scholar Form, the Release of Liability for Volunteers, Interns and Visiting Scholars, and email approval on record in department files.
Yes. However, a current, permanent employee can only perform unpaid work if the work does not entail the same (or similar) types of duties and responsibilities as those of the employee’s permanent position. The University will not have to perform a background check for current employees unless the nature of the volunteer activity involves unsupervised access to sensitive populations or sensitive facilities.
Yes, provided their assignments do not involve unsupervised access to sensitive populations or sensitive facilities.
No. These UNC-Chapel Hill students are considered to be in continuing student status over the summer term, so the provisions of the policy do not apply unless their assignments involve unsupervised access to sensitive populations or sensitive facilities.
Yes. The Visiting Scholar is not a UNC-Chapel Hill student, so the policy and its provisions would still apply. For additional information relating to background checks on people without social security numbers. See also: Background Checks.

a. The basic (i.e. the basic rate) background check will be completed without a Federal Debarment check or a driving check. The background check will be performed to confirm that the international visiting scholar has no criminal background in the United States.

b. The background check is necessary because background checks are not completed as part of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) process for international visiting scholars. ISSS does not have access to any background or security checks that may be performed by a U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

a. The basic (i.e. the basic rate) background check will be completed without a Federal Debarment check or a driving check. The background check will be performed to confirm that the international visiting scholar has no criminal background in the United States.

b. The background check is necessary because background checks are not completed as part of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) process for international visiting scholars. ISSS does not have access to any background or security checks that may be performed by a U.S. Embassy and/or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

If an unpaid volunteer/intern/visiting scholar will be active in a clinical department of the University proper, then our internal policy provisions would apply. If there is a joint program or activity with UNC Healthcare, the department can submit a request for an exception to the Office of Human Resources (OHR), giving the details of the situation. Otherwise, compliance with UNC Healthcare Volunteer Services will not satisfy the University’s policy provisions.
The department can request fee reimbursement from volunteer, intern and/or visiting scholar, however, this option would need to be applied consistently within the department.
No. This policy does not include provisions for independent contractors. Please reference the Background Check Policy – Supplemental Procedures for more information.