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Minneapolis VA Health Care System Research Service

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Onboarding: Without Compensation (WOC) Appointments

The MVAHCS Research Service onboarding process is informed by VA hiring practices and rules governing eligibility for Federal employment. Currently, four onboarding options exist for personnel engaged in research activities at the Minneapolis VA: VA paid employment, Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) employment, Without Compensation (WOC) employment (this page), and Contract employment. Because Contract employment is rarely used, we refer you to the Research Service Onboarding Policy for details on this mechanism.

Each onboarding option falls under different rules in terms of eligibility, allowed funding source, and timeline for hire. All onboarding mechanisms require prospective employee to complete all required training and to be added to all affected study protocols, subject to approval from subcommittee of record, prior to initiating any research activities.

The outline below provides an overview of WOC appointments. Prior to initiating an onboarding action, PI should consult the information here and on the other onboarding pages, and determine whether the prospective employee will meet all necessary requirements. The PI should also consider the estimated timelines for each onboarding option. For questions regarding this process, PI should contact the Research Administrative Officer (AO).

WOC appointments

All personnel engaging in VA research must have a valid VA status. In many cases, research staff at our facility are not paid by VA, but are instead employees of the academic affiliate or VA non-profit corporation (NPC). For these personnel, Research uses WOC appointments to grant VA status. WOC appointees are not paid by VA, but are still considered to be Federal employees. As such, all prospective WOC employees must be a U.S. citizen eligible to work, and must pass a background check. Unlike other onboarding options, the PI does not need to have VA funding. The WOC can be an unpaid volunteer, or a paid employee of the VA NPC, academic affiliate, or other non-VA entity. A position description is not required for a WOC appointment and no documentation of education is required, however specific duties in the employee Scope of Practice may require verification of credentials and/or licensure. WOC appointments are for one to three years and are renewable annually. WOC appointments can be terminated by the PI, or by the Research Service, at any time without advance notice. See the RDC Without Compensation (WOC) Employee Policy SOP for more details on responsibilities. Onboarding timeline is 3-6 weeks.

Initiating a WOC Appointment

Prospective WOCs should consult with their PI or WOC sponsor to complete the WOC packet paperwork. Completed WOC forms should be returned to the Research Office or to CCDOR (for WOCs participating in CCDOR studies). Job duties, as specified by the PI in the WOC's Scope of Practice form, may necessitate an appointment with Occupational Health as part of the WOC onboarding process. New WOCs should review the information presented in the New Staff Orientation.

WOC packet forms and instructions are found on the "Onboarding Without Compensation (WOC) Employees" page.