16 U.S. Code § 4604 - Volunteers
(a) Authority to use volunteers
The Secretary is authorized to recruit, train, and accept the services of individuals or entities, without compensation, as volunteers for or in aid of the purposes of the TPIA Program, without regard to the provisions of title 5, that govern appointments in the competitive service, and the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, that relate to classification and General Schedule pay rates.
(b) Incidental expenses
The Secretary is authorized to provide for the incidental expenses of such volunteers, such as transportation, uniforms, lodging, or subsistence.
(c) Volunteers’ status as Federal employees
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a volunteer shall not be deemed a Federal employee and shall not be subject to the provisions of law relating to Federal employment, including those provisions relating to hours of work, rates of compensation, leave, unemployment compensation, and Federal employee benefits.
(2) For purposes of chapter 171 of title 28 (commonly referred to as the “Federal Tort Claims Act”), a volunteer under this subsection shall be considered an employee of the government (as defined in section 2671 of such title).