Can I volunteer my time for free at my current job to gain extra experience?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I volunteer my time for free at my current job to gain extra experience?

I work 40 hours a week for the New Link Destination
wn of Smyrna as a water plant treatment operator. I am interested in cross training to maintenance to gain extra experience but the town won’t pay me overtime to do that. I was wondering if I can legally volunteer my time to work maintenance without getting paid, and freeing up the town any liability if I were to get injured. Not sure if there is a special form I would need to sign or and Afa David not sure if I spelled that currectly. I want to be able to work on my off days in maintenance to gain that experience and want to know if there is a legal avenue to make that happen. Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated

Asked on December 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot: if you are an hourly employee or a non-exempt salaried employee, the law mandates that you must be paid for all hours worked (hourly employee) and for overtime when working more than 40 hours (hourly and non-exempt salary). You are NOT allowed to give up that pay: the law does that to prevent employers from coercing employees into "volunteering" to work for free.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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