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Friday, November 10, 2006

Volunteering on company time

Should companies ask workers to volunteer in the community in their off-the-clock hours? One of my co-workers said she grew tired of dedicating her own time to the United Way on behalf of the company, then watching the publisher get recognized with an award from the non-profit organization. Her comments were in reaction to an article I wrote last week wondering aloud whether corporate-urged volunteering is a form of unpaid overtime. Click here to read the article. I think companies should let workers participate in corporate sponsored volunteer programs on company time.
The reaction to my article came from both sides. Pat Morris of Hands On Miami was disappointed. She writes: "I have had the honor to have worked first hand and seen the community building efforts of literally hundreds of companies of all sizes including your Miami Herald. I think your article was focused on a negative that quite frankly is not very accurate about corporate volunteers. I find it very hard to believe that you may in any way have felt pressured to volunteer on the Miami Herald team for Hands On Miami Day. "
Laurence R. Mervis, president of Steven Adams & Associates urges caution when volunteering. His comments: "No payroll. No workers comp."
And Julie Katz writes: "The difficulty in balancing the desire to volunteer with busy work and personal lives is precisely why volunteer opportunities during work hours are the ideal solution for both businesses and employees. This balance is why New York business executive, Arthur Tannenbaum, founded EVERYBODY WINS ! in 1991 as a way to engage corporate employees as literacy volunteers without asking them to sacrifice their evenings or weekends." Katz says Everybody Wins has just launced a new affliate in South Florida.
I don't know much about Katz' program but she says the website is www.everyonewinssouthflorida.org.

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