Immunity protects against legal proceedings. Liability laws answer the question of whether an individual will be held criminally, civilly, or professionally responsible for their actions. Although a statute or regulation can protect an individual from being held legally responsible, it does not prevent a person from filing a lawsuit. Some immunity laws protect an individual by extending sovereign immunity. This means that a state or political subdivision will provide legal and monetary support for throughout the legal process.

Workers’ Benefits

Workers’ compensation is given to employees or, in some states, volunteers when they are injured or killed during employment or volunteer work. When volunteers provide services outside of their home state, laws determine whether they are entitled to the workers’ compensation benefits of their own state or the requesting jurisdiction. Employment protections are another form of workers’ benefits. States often provide for the protection of an individual’s employment status (including wage, earned sick time, overtime, seniority, etc.) during for the time an individual leaves their job to volunteer. Often, an individual only receives employment protections when they are formally deployed as part of an official organization (e.g., American Red Cross). Employers can ask for written verification of their employee’s volunteer status.

Scope of Practice

Scope of practice laws determines what actions an individual can perform in accordance with their license, permit, or certification. Every state defines scope of practice differently. When an emergency is declared, states can decide whether the scope of practice will change. An individual who is licensed, permitted, or certified who provides assistance outside of their home state can have their scope of practice changed to match what a similarly licensed, permitted, or certified individual can do in the jurisdiction where they are providing their services.

License Reciprocity

States have different requirements for licensure, permitting, and certification. Generally, they are not valid outside of the issuing state. However, when there is a need for certain professions and skills, a state can waive their requirements and allow out-of-state individuals to work within the state. These laws differ based on the type of declaration, the need of a state, and governmental waivers. Additional research regarding the scope of practice is necessary to understand what particular services an can provide when they are given reciprocity. Some states participate in interstate compacts that allow reciprocity without an emergency declaration or governmental waiver of the licensure requirements.