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SAIF does not provide workers' comp coverage for volunteers of for-profit businesses. For Assigned Risk Plan policies, please contact your agent or SAIF representative for additional information.


A volunteer is someone who provides service for no remuneration and is not a regular full-time or part-time paid employee.

Volunteer coverage is considered optional and at the discretion of both the political subdivision and SAIF, except when the volunteer is a qualified county search and rescue volunteer who is automatically covered under the county's workers' comp insurance policy (effective January 1, 2010).

How to provide coverage for volunteers

A political subdivision using volunteer personnel may elect to cover them under its workers' comp policy by submitting a written request to SAIF. Coverage begins only after SAIF accepts the request and issues the policy endorsement.

A political subdivision electing volunteer coverage must obtain a formal resolution of the governing body declaring its intent to cover volunteers. A copy of the resolution must be kept on file and provided to SAIF upon request.

A written request to SAIF must include the following:

  • A description of the work to be performed
  • The estimated total number of volunteer personnel for each separate job category

Benefits for injured volunteers

If a policy is endorsed to include volunteers, they are entitled to the same benefits as the entity's paid workers. Benefits are paid in accordance with the law (Chapter 656 of Oregon Revised Statutes).

Assumed wages and record-keeping requirements

Public safety volunteer personnel

Includes volunteer firefighters, police officers, ambulance drivers, rescue boat operators, and deputy sheriffs.

  • The assumed wage for each volunteer is $800 monthly for premium calculations and benefit payments. Higher monthly assumed wages are optional and available in $100 increments.
  • An official roster of volunteer names by category must be kept and maintained, and furnished to SAIF upon request.
  • Payroll is reported in classification 8411 based on the number of volunteers on the roster, multiplied by the assumed wage for the reporting period.

All other volunteer personnel

For example: at schools, libraries, parks, or camps

  • Report the hourly assumed wage (established by the National Council on Compensation Insurance) in the job classification that best describes the type of work the volunteer performs.
  • Maintain a written record of volunteer names, dates worked, and number of hours worked.
  • Track each instance of volunteer work, including the date, time in, time out, and category of work.

Changes in volunteer personnel

SAIF must be notified when changes occur to your volunteer personnel. In some instances, there may be other record-keeping requirements to assure the accuracy of assumed wage payroll and to assist with claim clearance. If so, SAIF will advise you as to what will be needed.

Qualified emergency service volunteers

During a public health crisis, the Governor may declare a state of public health emergency to protect public health. These proclamations may necessitate the use of qualified service volunteers through the State of Oregon or other public bodies.

A qualified emergency service volunteer includes a person who is:

  • Registered with the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) or other public body to perform emergency service activities;
  • Acknowledged in writing as a qualified emergency service volunteer, at the time the person offers to volunteer during an emergency, by the OEM or by another public body.

Oregon statute indicates the OEM shall provide workers' compensation coverage for qualified emergency service volunteers who are injured in the course and scope of performing emergency service activities under the direction of a public body if the injury occurs:

  • While the volunteer is performing emergency service activities under the direction of the public body during a state of emergency declared under this chapter, or during a state of public health emergency proclaimed under ORS 433.441 (Proclamation of public health emergency); or
  • While the volunteer is engaged in training being conducted or approved by a public body for the purpose of preparing the volunteer to perform emergency services.

Coverage applies only to qualified emergency service volunteers who are performing emergency service activities under the direction of a public body without compensation from the public body other than reimbursement for food, lodging, costs of transportation, and other expenses.