Huskies Give Back (Volunteering Leave)

Paid volunteering leave provides employees with an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to service and stewardship, one of the university's core values. Full-time employees are eligible to take up to 7.5 hours of paid time off each fiscal year (July 1 –⁠ June 30) to volunteer in the communities in which they live and/or work. This is a great way to make a difference at your child’s school, support your favorite nonprofit or explore new ways to make a difference.

How to Volunteer

  • 1

    Step One

    Make sure your organization is approved by NIU. View preapproved organizations. Or, request organization approval at least three weeks in advance.
  • 2

    Step Two

    Follow your normal departmental procedures to request the time off for volunteering.
  • 3

    Step Three

    Once your supervisor has approved your time off request, submit a volunteering time off confirmation in advance of your volunteer service. A copy of this submission will be sent to your supervisor and Payroll as confirmation of your volunteer plans.

  • 4

    Step Four

    Include a comment on your timesheet or benefit usage form indicating Huskies Give Back with the date/time you volunteered. If your volunteer service is performed outside of your regular NIU work hours, you may make arrangements with your supervisor to apply the volunteer leave time off as comp time or as flexible scheduling during your work week.

Frequently Asked Questions


Program Logistics

Is the Huskies Give Back Time Off Request required?

Yes. Employees using volunteer time off must complete the Huskies Give Back Time Off Request, requesting time off and verifying their use of the benefit. Completed forms must be sent to Human Resources at least two weeks before the requested volunteer date. Employees must have a supervisor at the volunteer site sign the Time Off Request and return it to Human Resources within a week of volunteering. If they don't, the employee will have to take vacation time equivalent to the volunteered time.

Can an employee's request for volunteer time off be denied?

The decision to accept a request for volunteer time off is within the discretion of the supervisor, based on the business and operational needs of the department. If the supervisor determines that the requested time will conflict with business needs, they are encouraged to work with the employee to find a time that works for both the department and the employee. Faculty are not permitted to cancel class to participate.

Do I need to complete a Workers' Compensation Injury Report if I'm injured while volunteering or while traveling to the volunteering site?

As with any activities that occur outside of NIU employment while an employee is using paid time off, NIU is not liable for injuries incurred during volunteer time off. Therefore, it is not necessary for the employee or supervisor to complete the Workers' Compensation Injury Report. Of course, in the event an employee sustains any injury at any time, employees are advised to seek medical attention appropriate to the injury.

Volunteering Opportunities

What if an organization is not on the preapproved list?
Employees can request that an organization be added to the list by filling out the Huskies Give Back Volunteer Organization Request. The Ethics and Compliance Office must approve the request. Political advocacy or participation is strictly prohibited. Although religious organizations may be charitable organizations, this program does not apply to activities designed to promote religious beliefs. However, service would include activities supported by religious organizations such as working in soup kitchens, homeless shelters or other community activities.
Can I volunteer in a private school?
Yes, although employees must indicate the kind of volunteering that will be performed on the Huskies Give Back Volunteer Organization Request and have it approved by the Ethics and Compliance Office. This program does not apply to activities designed to promote religious beliefs. For example, volunteering for a class party would likely be approved, but volunteering to give a class prayer would not be.
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