Human Resources



The creation of unpaid appointments at Union College allow for qualified individuals, who are not already students or employees of the College, to engage in a relationship with the College that is either mutually beneficial or primarily for the benefit of the individual. Fairly strict state and federal guidelines are applied to determine the possibility for these types of appointments. Because the college work environment is considerably different from most others we have to exercise additional diligence (and often creativity) to ensure our arrangements fit the guidelines. Once approved, the establishment of an official unpaid appointment leads to creation of an appointment letter and will permit the individual to use the appropriate College facilities.

All unpaid appointments are subject to the following stipulations:

  • Unpaid appointments do not imply a promise of any future appointment or tenure.
  • Unpaid appointments do not confer salary or employment-related benefits available to regular employees.
  • Unpaid appointments do not confer membership to any department or the General Faculty.
  • Individuals in unpaid appointments shall not be coerced or pressured to perform their duties in any fashion.
  • Minimal qualifications for unpaid appointments may be required depending on the type of position and services to be performed.
  • Individuals who receive unpaid appointments must meet the definition of a “guest,” “volunteer” or “intern.”
    • “Guests” are individuals who use the College’s facilities to perform their own work rather than work on behalf of the College or individuals that are collaborating with existing faculty or staff on research or projects.
    • “Volunteers” are individuals who perform work on behalf of the College under no contract of hire, express or implied, and with no promise of compensation, other than reimbursement for expenses. Additional factors that the College takes into account in classifying individuals as “volunteers” include:
      • whether the individual will replace or augment paid staff to do the work of paid staff;
      • whether the individual will perform tasks traditionally reserved for volunteers;
      • whether the individual will be required to work certain hours;
      • whether the individual will be required to perform duties involuntarily; and
      • whether the individual is employed by another person or business related to the College
    • “Interns” are individuals who are the primary beneficiaries of their relationship with the College insofar as the tangible and intangible benefits provided to the individual are greater than the individual’s contribution to the College’s operations. This determination takes into consideration the following factors:.
      • Whether the parties understand there is no expectation of compensation;
      • Whether the internship provides training similar to that received in an educational environment;
      • Whether the internship is connected to a formal education program or receipt of academic credit;
      • Whether the internship corresponds with the academic calendar, accommodating the intern’s school commitments;
      • Whether the duration of the internship is limited to the period in which the intern is provided with beneficial learning;
      • Whether the intern’s work displaces the work of paid employees; and
      • Whether the parties understand there is no entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the program.
  • Individuals who receive unpaid appointments must comply with any relevant policies including but not limited to those policies located in the Faculty Manual or Employee Handbook and on Union's web site that apply to the services performed by the individual. Relevant policies may include, but are not limited to policies governing safety concerns, professional ethics, harassment and discrimination, and use of Union’s information technology resources. Unpaid positions, working on grant-related activities must also comply with provisions of the grant.
  • Unpaid appointments shall begin and end in a reasonable timeframe. Research appointment positions will normally be for the one year period of July 1 through June 30; however, appointments may be shorter or may be renewed if all parties agree. To request a renewal, the Chair, Director, or Department Head of the host department or Program at Union must reapply before the current position ends.

Requesting Unpaid Appointments

Unpaid appointments may not begin until a signed appointment letter is received by the College.

The accompanying form is used to clarify the relationship between the unpaid appointment and the College, and to understand the services and facilities required for each appointment. Although the College recognizes and values the contributions that unpaid positions may make to Union, the College does not have the resources to automatically provide the full range of facilities and services that are available to regular employees.

The supervisor of the unpaid position should fill out and sign the Unpaid Appointments form before submitting for approval to those individuals listed in the order presented at the bottom of the form.

The appropriate Vice President, in consultation with Human Resources, will make the final determination on whether to approve the appointment. Once approved, an appointment letter will be sent to the individual, who will be asked to sign and return the appointment letter.