The International Journal
of Not-for-Profit Law
Volume 9, Issue 3, July 2007
By Katerina Hadzi-Miceva1
Volunteering is an essential part of every contemporary society. Through volunteering, citizens significantly contribute to the social and economic development of their communities. In addition, they expand the influence and capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and at the same time develop their own skills. These contributions have been repeatedly recognized through various initiatives aimed to promote volunteering internationally and throughout Europe.2
In addition, there is an increased awareness among governments and CSOs about the importance of the legal framework to volunteering. Therefore, some European countries have launched legislative reform initiatives to create an environment that fosters volunteering.
This article will look at the rationale for regulating volunteering and provide an overview of the principles that should underpin any framework for volunteer initiatives. In addition, it will discuss the legal issues that affect volunteering, highlight recommendations developed by international experts, and provide examples of how certain country specific laws have defined and regulated volunteer activities. Through the research analysis, the article will aim to help national governments and policymakers considering local reforms to adopt optimal policies, which can enable and maximize the full potential of volunteering.
II. VOLUNTEERING AND THE LAW
The legal framework is only part of the social and institutional contexts that shape volunteering in a country. The level of volunteering also depends on such factors as the economic and political situation, the stage of development of the third sector and its image, the culture of volunteering, and the labor markets. The legal framework becomes important when it creates obstacles and impedes volunteering, as the experience of countries in Europe show. Therefore, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in particular have moved beyond publicly recognizing volunteering to creating a legal environment that will promote volunteering. Several European countries have already adopted legal provisions governing volunteerism, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. Other countries, including Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are drafting such legislation.3
Also recognizing the importance of the legal framework, international organizations are encouraging states to regulate and promote volunteering. For example, the Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly of the UN: 56/38 recommends that states create
[e]nabling fiscal, legislative and other frameworks, including for community-based organizations and not-for-profit organizations engaged in volunteering [though the following means:]
- Introduce enabling legislation. The goal is to encourage or inspire citizens to volunteer but allow the choice to rest with the individual or organization; it can also facilitate employee volunteering. It can provide tax incentives and subsidies for organizations, as well as coverage and protection against risks, in a way fitting the particular society;
- Facilitate partnership-building around volunteer-based activities of civil society, including arrangements for joint planning, implementation and monitoring. This could incorporate employee volunteer activities of the private sector.4
The Council of Europe also recommends that states define voluntary service at national level, emphasizing its educational aspects and its importance to society.5 Through a 2001 recommendation, further, the Council of Europe’s General Assembly asks the Committee of Ministers to call on member states to seek to “identify and eliminate, in their laws and practice, any obstacles which directly or indirectly prevent people from engaging in voluntary action, and to reduce tax pressure which penalises voluntary action” and “give voluntary workers legal status and adequate social protection, while respecting their independence, and removing financial obstacles to volunteering.”6
Several preliminary questions must be asked regarding the relationship between the legal framework and volunteering. Why, for instance, should volunteering be regulated, and to what extent? Does volunteering need to be regulated through a separate law? There is no perfect answer to these questions, but the experiences of countries that have undertaken reforms can provide helpful guidance.
1. Why should volunteering be promoted and regulated?
There are many benefits that volunteering brings to the society at large and civil society organizations specifically. The most important ones can be summarized as follows:
Volunteering increases citizen participation in social life, helps build local networks, and creates a sense of responsibility for resolving community problems. Recent research in the UK acknowledges that volunteering may “boost community happiness” and give greater life satisfaction.7
Volunteering is an indispensable part of civil society initiatives. According to one study, volunteers represent some 43% of civil society workers in 35 surveyed countries.8 In Poland alone, 87% of CSOs depend on volunteers.9
Further, if the contribution in time by volunteers is calculated, based on average salaries for the fields in which the volunteers are engaged, it exceeds cash donations. A study of 24 countries finds that on average, the financial value of volunteering represents 65% of the nonprofit philanthropic income, whereas cash donations represent 35%.10
Volunteering also aids the volunteers themselves. Those who are young or unemployed can develop or refine skills and gain confidence and self-esteem, which in turn helps prepare them for employment. Volunteering enables the elderly to remain engaged, contribute to the common good, and feel their skills are still valuable. This can help keep their morale high as well as contribute toward intergenerational cooperation and solidarity.
2. How do laws affect volunteering?
Country-specific analyses show that unfavorable legal frameworks can pose serious obstacles to volunteering, as many of national laws either impede volunteering or fail to support it. This is especially true for those CEE countries where volunteering is not an intrinsic part of the culture. By contrast, in countries where the tradition of volunteering is high, such as the United Kingdom and Germany, volunteering and volunteers are implicitly protected and integrated into various pieces of the laws.
The legal framework issues become especially important for those volunteer arrangements that require an engagement on a daily bases for a longer period of time. Long-term volunteers are affected by a variety of laws, such as labor laws, tax laws, and liability laws, both directly and indirectly. Possible problems include the misapplication of labor laws, the taxation of volunteer time, the loss of unemployment benefits, liability issues, and volunteers performing under dangerous conditions and being unaware of their rights and obligations. In Croatia, some organizations have even had difficulties registering “providing volunteer services” among their statutory activities – due to the lack of legal definition, the registration authorities were not clear what “volunteer services” would mean.
Primarily, national legislation should define and regulate volunteering in order to recognize it, to provide a framework for various volunteer arrangements, and to clearly distinguish it from the employment relationship. The absence of a legal definition of “volunteer” and the lack of recognized features of a “volunteer agreement” may result in the treatment of volunteers as paid employees. Consequently, any payment may be considered “compensation” and CSOs may be treated as running afoul of the labor law and the requirements to pay minimum wage. For example, in Latvia, CSOs were not able to reimburse volunteers’ expenses, as that would have required signing a labor contract, which in turn would subject the volunteers to employment laws and minimum wage rules.13 In Croatia and Macedonia, state inspectorates can temporarily prohibit work if employment was not commenced in compliance with the law (e.g., the parties did not sign an employment agreement).
Further, the lack of legal status might also result in loss of unemployment benefits. In the Czech Republic, labor officers have eliminated unemployment benefits to unemployed individuals acting as volunteers, because these efforts have been deemed illegal work, although the volunteers receive no payments or in-kind benefits.14 During the drafting of the law on volunteering, a Croatian ministry opined that if unemployed individuals want to volunteer, then the unemployment benefits should be suspended for the time of their volunteer engagement.
Another significant obstacle to volunteering is the tax treatment of reimbursement of expenses. International experts15 agree that volunteers should have a right to be reimbursed for all reasonable expenses incurred in the course of volunteering. However, in some countries (e.g., Switzerland, Belgium, Macedonia), reimbursement of expenses to volunteers is taxed; only reimbursement to employees is exempted. This is a serious obstacle to recruiting and mobilizing volunteers. Similarly in Estonia, if a CSO wishes to cover the volunteer’s costs, it must do so through a labor contract or some civil contract, and all payments are subject to taxation.16
In sum, legal recognition of volunteering is important because it ensures that volunteers are protected in the course of providing services and that they are distinguished from employees. The law should aim to replace the impediments to volunteering with incentives.
3. How much regulation is necessary?
Though important, regulating volunteering is not easy. Lessons from countries around the region include the following.
First, it is important to recognize that volunteering can take many forms, from spontaneous, ad-hoc neighborhood initiatives to organized, formal, and even contract-based engagement on a regular and ongoing basis. In addition, volunteers can act in groups, or within the framework of international programs, or on their own initiative, or at the invitation of others. Consequently, it may be difficult and even dangerous to regulate all conceivable forms of volunteering. Experts agree that legislators should “ensure that laws with specific purposes do not restrict opportunities for the enhancement of an enabling volunteer environment.”17 Otherwise the whole concept will be distorted.
Therefore, governments and CSOs should set clear policy goals and objectives that they want to achieve through regulating volunteering, and ensure that the regulation of one form of volunteering does not prohibit the existence of other forms, especially informal or ad-hoc volunteering initiatives.
Second, the legal framework should facilitate rather than control volunteering. The law should ensure that volunteering is protected and promoted and that the legal requirements do not discourage volunteering. Excessive regulations may impede spontaneous initiatives, burden small CSOs, and dampen the volunteer spirit.
Third, every country should decide whether and how to regulate volunteering based on its social, cultural, and economic conditions. At the outset, governments, in partnership with CSOs and other stakeholders, must comprehensively analyze their legal systems and identify how local laws affect volunteering, so as to determine how legal revisions can best serve local needs. If the legal framework inhibits volunteering, than the next step is deciding how to remove the obstacles: through a separate law (e.g., Hungary), an integrated component of another law (e.g., Latvia, Poland), or amendments to current legislation (e.g., Lithuania).
Finally, draft laws should be developed through close cooperation among governments, CSOs, experts, and other stakeholders. Multi-stakeholder participation will ensure that the legislative initiative meaningfully addresses real needs of the volunteer community.
III. EXISTING LEGAL FRAMEWORKS AND SCOPE OF REGULATION
There is no uniform way of regulating volunteering, primarily because the nature of voluntary initiatives varies, but also because countries pursue different goals through the legislation. This is an important consideration when analyzing varying approaches. The goals determine the scope of regulation, the specific form of volunteering it regulates, and the benefits, incentives, and protections that apply to that form. Accordingly, the laws adopted so far throughout Europe differ widely in terms of their goals and objectives, the types of volunteering they address, and the extent to which they regulate the relationship between volunteer and organization.
The Volunteer Services Act (2002) defines only some forms of voluntary activity and specifies the conditions under which the Czech State will support them. The law envisions a distinct system, and only those volunteers who work within it can receive direct government support and protection. Under this law the state accredits certain organizations (called “delegating organizations”), on the basis of which the organizations can select and train volunteers in certain areas, sign contracts with them, and assign them to “receiving organizations.” State authorities, organizational units of the State, and authorities and administrative bodies of territorial self-governing units may use volunteer services within the purposes stipulated in the Act, in which case they will have the status of receiving organizations. Unfortunately, thousands of volunteers who work in different organizations or outside the framework of such organized activities are not recognized or protected by the law.
The Law on Public Interest Volunteer Activities (2005) also takes a relatively narrow regulatory approach. The law regulates the provision of “public interest voluntary activities” under the umbrella of certain types of legal entities or “host organizations,” such as public benefit organizations, governmental institutions, and public or private service providers in the social, health, educational, cultural, and minority fields. The law explicitly stipulates that it leaves intact volunteering in other types of organizations or fields of activities. However, this also implies that the extensive benefits and protections conferred through this law do not extend to other types of volunteering. Because over half of registered CSOs do not have public benefit status, this law does not cover the majority of CSOs and their volunteers. In addition, the law requires those organizations that work with volunteers to register with the competent Ministry; and it outlines a detailed and bureaucratic procedure of registration as well as conditions under which registration might be refused. An organization must keep a registry of all volunteers, and maintain the data for five years after the volunteer relationship ends. These requirements seem to place unduly high administrative burdens on volunteering. The Hungarian law is perhaps unique in regulating the volunteering relationship in such detail.
The General Policy Law on Volunteerism (1991) prescribes the principles and criteria that regulate the relationship between public agencies and volunteer organizations.18 The different regions and autonomous provinces must follow these principles. The regional authorities have basically established similar regulations following the national law.19 The law does not directly focus on the individual as a volunteer, but rather essentially addresses volunteering by defining volunteer activities and governing the work of volunteer organizations and their relationship with the national and local governments. The law extends certain protection and rights to volunteers by imposing duties on the volunteer organizations, including a duty to insure members against illness and third-party liability, and it distinguishes volunteering from employment relationships.
Volunteering in Latvia is regulated under the Law on Associations and Foundations (2003). Article 8 establishes the right of associations and foundations to engage volunteers in order to achieve their statutory objectives, defines volunteering, and prescribes general rules regarding contract, liability, and reimbursement of expenses.
Resolution No. 511 of 2001 regulates volunteering for those non-profit organizations, public institutions, and other legal entities entitled to benefits under the Law on Charity and Sponsorship. The resolution also applies to volunteering for political parties and trade unions. In addition to this resolution, the Law on Employment Contract stipulates that volunteering will not be considered illegal work.20
The Law on Youth Voluntary Service (1999) aims to promote social engagement of young people through activities of general interest that may be for their own benefit, including educationally, and the benefit of others. In order to fall under this law, a non-profit organization must receive accreditation from the Ministry of Youth. The duration of the volunteering is limited to between six and twelve months, which can be shortened or lengthened only with permission of the Ministry. Other types of volunteer activities are not regulated.
The Law on Public Benefit Activity and Volunteerism (2003) regulates volunteering for non-profit entities, non-governmental organizations, associations of units of local government, public administration bodies, and other legal entities subject to this law within the scope of their public benefit activities. The law also applies to those Polish volunteers who perform services for international organizations. Volunteers for organizations that lack public benefit status fall outside of this law.
The Volunteer Act 71/1998 regulates volunteer activities for projects and programs developed to benefit individuals, families, and the community. Promoting organizations are non-profit public or private entities that have satisfied the criteria to recruit volunteers and coordinate their activities. In addition, the volunteer activity must be of social and community benefit in the fields of civic life, social action, health, education, science and culture, heritage and environment protection, consumer protection, cooperation for development, employment and professional training, social reintegration, civil protection, development of associative life and social economy, promotion of volunteering and social solidarity, and similar fields. The law also establishes the principles of volunteering, enumerates the rights and duties of volunteers, and regulates their relationship with the promoting organizations.
The Law on Volunteerism (2001 and amendments of 2002) promotes volunteering by Romanian citizens and foreigners organized by public and private registered non-profit entities; as well as the participation of youth in international volunteer programs, as implemented by decentralized structures in close cooperation with the national authorities involved in youth-related matters. Volunteer activities must always be performed under a written contract, which burdens short term or ad-hoc volunteering. The Romanian law separately addresses volunteering under the community action program “Youth.”
The Spanish Act on Voluntary Work (1996) provides that volunteering be performed within the framework of a concrete project or program developed by public or private non-profit organizations. The activities need to be of general interest in social welfare, civic affairs, education, culture, science, sports, health care, economic development, environmental protection, or the promotion of civil society and volunteerism.22 Various Autonomous Communities have developed their own regulations on volunteering; therefore, this law applies only to national or cross-regional programs and volunteers in areas that fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the State.23
IV. LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING VOLUNTEERING
Discussion of the legal issues that affect volunteering will be guided by the recommendations adopted by international experts and by experience from working with various policy-makers in CEE on developing legal framework for volunteering. When country-specific laws are discussed, it is important to consider them in light of their general context and goals, as described in section III.
1. Legal status and definition of volunteering
Few international treaties or documents provide guidance on a legal definition of volunteering. The Communication from the European Commission to the Council24 recognizes that traditions and practices of voluntary activities vary, which should be regarded when regulating volunteering. It defines volunteering as all volunteer engagements with the following characteristics: “open to all, unpaid, undertaken by own free will, educational (non-formal learning aspect) and added social value.” In addition, it defines voluntary service as “part of voluntary activities and characterized by the following additional aspects: fixed period; clear objectives, contents, tasks, structure and framework; appropriate support and legal and social protection.”
The Convention on the Promotion of a Transnational Long-term Voluntary Service for Young People25 regulates volunteering by individuals from another country. It defines a volunteer as a “person legally residing in one Party who is legally present in the territory of another Party for a continuous period of time, not less than three months and not longer than twelve months, to perform full-time voluntary service activities.” The Convention also emphasizes the basic features of the volunteer relationship by providing that the volunteer is not remunerated and has freely decided to volunteer. In addition, the volunteer activity cannot replace compulsory national service or remunerated employment.
The Guidance Note developed by the Red Cross offers two definitions that could guide legislators:
- “Volunteerism is the group of activities carried out by individuals, associations or legal entities, for the common good, by free choice and without intention for financial gain, outside the framework of any employment, mercantile or civil service relationship,” or
- “A volunteer is an individual who, by free choice, offers his or her time, work and skills, occasionally or on a regular basis, without expectation of compensation, other than reimbursement of reasonable expenses and subsistence allowance necessary for the accomplishment of his or her assignments as a volunteer, for the public benefit, individually or within the framework of informal or officially registered non-governmental non-profit organizations or public entities, at the national and trans-national levels”.26
Country-specific laws generally define volunteering as activities performed by individuals, based on their free will, for the benefit of another and without compensation. Some of the laws also distinguish volunteering from employment. For example, the Romanian law stipulates that the volunteer activities are “other than labor relationships and the relationship arising between employer and remunerated employees.” The Italian law provides that the role of a volunteer is incompatible with every kind of employer-employee relationship in which income is received from the organization. The Hungarian law introduces an amendment to Act LXXV of 1996 on the Supervision of Labor to distinguish volunteering from employment, based on the volunteer contract. Similarly, as noted above Lithuania introduced amendments to the Law on Employment Contract to stipulate that volunteering is not illegal work. The Portuguese law establishes the principle of the complementary character of volunteering, which presupposes that volunteers should not substitute for human resources necessary to pursue the organizations’ activities.
|The Romanian law further distinguishes employment from volunteering and ensures that the concept is not misused: |
“1. The conclusion of volunteer contracts in view of avoiding the conclusion of an individual labor, or as applicable, piece-work or other onerous contract is hereby forbidden;
“2. Any contract concluded in infringement of the present law by the legal entities mentioned herein above, under art. 1, for the purpose of avoiding the conclusion of a labor, piece-work or other onerous contract, shall be legally null and void;
“3. Participation in volunteer activities shall not be for military service or other, alternative, service substituting military service, and cannot represent the equivalent of a remunerated job….”
From the above-mentioned definitions it is important to highlight the following features of volunteering:
i. Who is a volunteer?
- The volunteer is an individual, a natural person. Volunteers may act in groups, or through an organized venture such as an association. However, the group, association, or the legal entity itself should not be regarded as a “volunteer.”27
- The volunteer can be a citizen or a foreigner who volunteers in that country. In Lithuania, the law specifically provides that volunteering can be performed by citizens of Lithuania, by foreign citizens who are in Lithuania, and people without citizenship.
- Any person can be a volunteer. The report by the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee concludes that member states of the Council of Europe should adopt policies that “encourage, by various measures, involvement in voluntary service by everyone, including disadvantaged minorities in traditionally excluded groups: unemployed persons, migrants and the disabled or elderly.”28 However, some countries limit who can volunteer. Most commonly, countries prescribe age limits to volunteer engagements, mainly to protect volunteers but to reflect the type of volunteer relationship that the particular law regulates. According to the Czech law, a volunteer can be a natural person over 15 if volunteer services are performed on the territory of the Czech Republic, or over 18 if the services are performed abroad. In Lithuania, persons under 16 can volunteer only with the consent of parents or guardians. This law further lists fields and types of activities that minors of various ages cannot engage in.
|In Hungary the law addresses volunteering not only by minors but also by people with limited legal capacity. Thus, a person with limited legal capacity and a minor above 10 years of age can perform volunteer activities, subject to the following additional protections: |
“(1) A person under 18 years of age, or an adult with limited legal capacity may pursue public interest volunteer activities that correspond to his/her age, physical, mental and moral development and abilities, and do not constitute a risk to his/her health, development and performance of school attendance obligations.
“(2) A volunteer under 16 years of age, or an adult volunteer with limited legal capacity may not pursue public interest volunteer activities abroad.
“(3) A volunteer under 18 years of age may not pursue public interest volunteer activities between 8 pm and 6 am.”
ii. Type of activities
Volunteer activity should be considered a contribution in-kind (i.e., time or services) and not goods, cash, or other valuable assets. Further, volunteers should be allowed to provide any service permitted by law. Some countries stipulate that certain services cannot be provided below a fixed minimum rate (e.g., legal counsel, medical services). When legislators aim to regulate volunteering, they should keep in mind the potential benefits of all possible kinds of volunteer activity. International experts agree that “it is of paramount importance that a framework-law on volunteerism provide the most comprehensive and flexible definitions possible for volunteers and voluntary activity.”29
Almost all laws recognize that volunteering should be conducted for the benefit of the public, but some laws, such as Portugal’s, also specifically define the publicly beneficial fields of activities (see section III). Similarly, the Romanian law defines as publicly beneficial the following activities: social work, social care, human rights protection, health and health care, cultural, educational, tuition, scientific, humanitarian, religious, philanthropic, sports, environment, and social and community activities.
iii. Recipient of volunteer services
Generally, volunteers provide services to benefit another individual who is not related to them, or to benefit a larger community, an organization, a legal entity, a public body, or even the common interest (e.g., the protection of the environment). For example, the Romanian law provides that the beneficiary of volunteer activities can be a natural or legal entity and highlights that the host organization may be benefit from the volunteer activities.
The Spanish law excludes voluntary actions performed outside public or private non-profit organizations, such as for family reasons or by virtue of friendship or neighborliness.30 Similarly, the Romanian law stipulates that “self sufficient and sporadic volunteer activities, except for those performed within the framework of the relationships with the legal entities, attributed to family, friendship or neighborhood relationships shall not constitute a voluntary activity, and therefore, fall outside the scope of this law.”31
iv. By free choice
“Free choice” means (1) personal liberty of any individual to decide whether to volunteer, and (2) the extent to which one is willing to engage in voluntary activity without having been compelled or coerced by authorities or by law. Whether a specific activity qualifies as volunteering should be determined by assessing whether the individual would face consequences for refusing to perform the activity, which are likely to influence the decision to volunteer.
This element of “free choice” distinguishes volunteering from other types of activities that in some situations might also be called “volunteering.” For example, some countries around the region have labeled civilian service or apprenticeship as volunteering. Civilian service is the alternative to compulsory military service, and the apprenticeship is a type of vocational training required by certain professions before taking the professional exams (e.g., legal, medical). Other countries question whether these fall under the traditional definition of volunteering. The factor that prompts this debate is the fact that the civilian service and sometimes the apprenticeship are performed without remuneration.
Generally, apprenticeship and alternative military service should not be considered volunteering, even though the service is uncompensated. If “free choice” means a liberty to decide whether and how much one wants to volunteer, then any penalty or disadvantage for not performing a service suggests a deprivation of free choice. The apprentices and alternative military service are driven by obligation, whether imposed by the state, an educational institution, or a professional chamber. Such a requirement makes it hard to consider them volunteering. The infringement of free choice overrides the lack of remuneration. Freedom of choice also implies that a volunteer may terminate his engagement at any time, or under the conditions specified in a contract or other form of agreement with the hosting organization. Civil servants and apprentices who do not fulfill the required tasks face consequences.
Along this line, the Spanish Act provides that volunteering should be done freely in altruism and solidarity, not out of personal obligation or legal duty. The Hungarian Act provides that an activity does not qualify as public interest volunteering if it is performed to benefit the volunteer or a close relative, if it is required by law, if it is required by a court or other authorities, or if the parties have agreed upon a different legal relationship. The law further defines the details of such non-volunteer agreements in separate articles. The Communication from the European Commission to the Council32 also emphasizes that civilian service is not a voluntary activity. The Czech law, too, stipulates that the performance of military service or alternative civil service falls outside volunteer services.
v. Without compensation
Because volunteering is understood as a donation of time and effort, volunteer services should be performed without compensation. The Polish law even states that “the value of services provided by volunteers does not constitute a donation to a beneficiary under the regulations of the Civil Code and tax regulations.” The Italian law stipulates that the volunteer may not be paid in any way, including by the beneficiary. The Hungarian law provides that any financial gain by the volunteer or a close relative as a result of the volunteering will be considered remuneration. The Portuguese law recognizes gratuitousness among the key principles governing volunteering. This principle essentially means that volunteers cannot be paid or receive grants or donations while volunteering.
Although the volunteering itself cannot be compensated, the volunteer can be reimbursed for expenses that arise while volunteering. The reimbursement of reasonable expenses related to the provision of services (e.g. travel, accommodation, food) that are agreed upon in advance should be permitted when the volunteer requests it. All laws provide that volunteers can be reimbursed for expenses incurred in course of service.
The dividing line between compensation and reimbursement of expenses is very fine. Therefore, laws should clarify that reimbursement is made only for actual expenses incurred. If volunteers are paid a fixed rate, even if it is lower than market value for the service, problems can arise with labor laws. Such payments may be indistinguishable from compensation and give rise to taxation, welfare benefits, and minimum wage issues.33
Complicating the picture, some legislators have debated whether to create incentives for volunteering. Experts agree that as long as such rewards are neither agreed upon nor expected under the circumstances, they should be allowed without affecting the legal status of a volunteer.34 The Romanian law provides that volunteers have the right to receive honorary titles, medals, and bonuses, subject to the conditions stipulated by the law. The Hungarian law allows volunteers to receive a bonus, provided that the annual amount of such allowance does not exceed 20% of the prevailing mandatory monthly minimum wage. Generally, however, organizations should avoid offering financial gifts, as they might be considered payments. This is important not only to distinguish volunteers from employees, but also to respect the true nature of volunteering, which is motivated by good will and not by any expectation of financial gain. If one volunteer receives compensation, this can raise expectations among peers and in the society as a whole. Such practices can lead to stricter scrutiny by labor inspectors, who want to ensure that volunteering does not misuse labor or evade tax obligations.
2. Volunteer agreement
Volunteers and organizations should be free to regulate the specifics of their relationship. The legal framework should allow them to define their relationship through formal agreements, and it should provide general principles to guide them in this process. However, laws should not aim to regulate the content of such agreements in detail, because volunteering takes various forms and occurs under various circumstances. In addition, the recognition of volunteer agreements can help distinguish volunteering from employment. This is especially useful where authorities tend to misinterpret volunteering as unpaid labor. It should be emphasized, though, that the option of an agreement on volunteering should not preclude volunteers from providing services without any explicit agreement.35 The latter is true especially for short-term volunteer engagements.
The country specific laws, especially of the CEE region are keen to regulate the details of a volunteer agreement. Volunteering under the law in Romania is of contractual nature, and the written form is mandatory. According to the Czech law a volunteer renders volunteer services on the basis of a contract concluded with a delegating organization which must have a written form in case of a long-term volunteer service or in case of a short-term volunteer service abroad.
Hungarian law provides only general guidance as to what a volunteer contract should contain: the nature and place of the activity, the length of time assigned for the work, the rest and allowances provided to the volunteer, and the results of terminating the contract. In addition, it states that the contract must be in writing in certain cases, including when volunteering is performed for at least ten days (for volunteers under 18 or adults with a restricted legal capacity, the limit is two days); when the volunteer is provided allowances; when the volunteer is engaged in construction requiring a building permit; when the activity is performed abroad; when the right of either party to immediate termination is restricted; when the volunteer requests it; or when other laws require it.
In Lithuania, if a volunteer provides services for more than two days in a row, or in case of an event that lasts more than one week, the organization must record in a registry the volunteer’s name, date of birth, types of activities, timeframe, and other information. In addition, either party can get a written contract by request. The regulation also provides model forms for the registry and the contract.
According to the Polish law, volunteer services are performed in the scope, range, and time specified in an agreement, which should also contain a provision for its dissolution. Upon the request of a volunteer, the beneficiary is obliged to provide a written contract and issue written confirmation about the volunteer’s services.
The Portuguese law states that the relationship between a volunteer and the organization should be guided by a volunteer program that defines the scope and sites of activities; the criteria for participating in them; duration and forms of termination; internal systems of information and guidance; regular assessments of the results; development of training activities; risk coverage and liability issues; procedures for dispute resolution; and volunteer identification and certification.
Some laws also set forth the general conditions under which a volunteer engagement can be terminated (e.g., Portugal, Hungary), while others leave this to be defined in the contract (e.g., Poland).
3. Rights and obligations
The legal framework should either define the rights and obligations created by the volunteering relationship, or require that such rights and obligations be regulated by agreement. The type of rights and level of regulation will depend on the nature of the volunteering.
i. Rights of volunteers
All laws should guarantee the minimum rights to volunteers, such as the right to be informed about the volunteer arrangement, the right to receive reimbursement of expenses, the right to work in a safe environment, and the right to retain unemployment benefits. In addition, the legal system may prescribe other rights and obligations related to social benefits, in order to create incentives for volunteering or to incorporate volunteers in the state-funded social security systems. In practice, these additional benefits would correspond to the state’s general objectives. It should be noted that greater rights could ultimately result in greater accountability and reporting requirements.
- Disclosure requirement
Each volunteer must be informed about the rights, obligations, and specifics of the volunteer engagement before it begins, to promote an informed decision. The disclosure requirement is important, as it ensures (1) that the volunteer is engaged in activities he or she expected or that motivated the volunteering; (2) that volunteers understand their rights and the circumstances that define them; and (3) that they are informed of any possible dangers that might arise from the activity. Disclosure helps minimize potential misunderstandings that might occur (e.g., volunteers expecting trainings, organizations expecting full-time commitments). It also ensures that the volunteers know what to expect regarding their tasks (e.g., whether they will be doing work related to their skills in the field or performing administrative tasks in the office). If assignments do not meet the expectations of volunteers, the result can be a loss of enthusiasm and ultimately of volunteers. In addition, this requirement helps clarify the financial arrangements, especially regarding the reimbursement of reasonable expenses (see below). The disclosure requirement can be part of written contract or can be communicated to the volunteer before commencing the activity. When there is no written contract, international experts recommend that the information be either handed to the volunteer or posted in a visible place.36
Several laws require organizations to inform volunteers. The Polish law imposes an obligation to inform volunteers about rights and responsibilities and to provide subsequent access to such information. Similarly, the Hungarian law obliges the organizations to tell volunteers about the activity and any opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge. In Lithuania, organizations must instruct volunteers about procedural, safety, and health issues related to their activities before they begin. Under the Czech law, the voluntary contract must stipulate the preparatory training offered by the organization and any risks connected with rendering the services.
- Reimbursement of expenses
The law should give volunteers the right to request reimbursement for expenses incurred in relation to providing their services. In addition, such reimbursement should be tax-exempt. This exemption could be restricted to the level of reasonable expenses, as gauged by the extent and intensity of the services.37 Further, while the law should grant this right to volunteers, it should also allow them to waive reimbursement, as a way of financially supporting the organization.
Some laws provide general guidance on which costs qualify for reimbursement, while others detail those expenses. For example, the Portuguese Act provides that volunteers should be reimbursed for any sums spent in the exercise of activities if duly justified, within the limits eventually established by the respective entity. Similarly, the Italian law provides that volunteers may be reimbursed for expenses that have resulted from the activity, within the limits set by the organization. The Latvian law also provides that volunteers may be reimbursed for expenses incurred during volunteering, if such a provision appears in the articles of association or board decisions of the association or foundation.
According to the Polish law, the organizations are obliged to cover travel expenses and per diems related to performance of the activities, according to the rules applying to employees as defined in respective regulations. The organizations may cover other costs incurred by a volunteer that are related to the services provided to the beneficiary, according to regulations described in separate provisions that apply to employers. Further, the law allows volunteers to exempt the organization entirely or partially from the obligation to reimburse expenses; however, this must be done through a written form. The Lithuanian regulation specifically enumerates the costs that can be reimbursed, including travel, food if volunteering lasts more than four hours in a day, accommodation, mail, and telephone. The Hungarian law also enumerates costs not regarded as reimbursement, such as work clothing; protective equipment or material; transportation; accommodation or food provided to the volunteer or their reimbursement; payment to the volunteer for the use of a personal vehicle to benefit the organization; vaccination, screening examination, and other disease-prevention services; cost of training; and food, care, and training of the volunteer’s animal. The law also details the conditions upon which volunteers may be issued a per diem. For example, the law provides that individuals who volunteer with more than one organization may receive per diem from only one organization at a time, and the volunteer must notify the other the organizations of such arrangements.
- Social benefits, Insurance, Safety at Work
Social benefits, such as health insurance, retirement, and accident insurance are within the scope of labor relationships, as they are directly related to the salaries or other forms of remuneration that individuals receive. Volunteering does not entail remuneration and therefore it is usually not covered by these systems. The social benefits are not an issue with occasional, short-term volunteering or volunteering by employed people or students. Countries, however, could consider extending social benefits to those volunteers who provide services for a longer term and full-time. Generally, the legislation should provide an option for the organizations to offer private social security benefits at their own cost, and those benefits should not be subject to taxation. In addition, these benefits should not be considered remuneration and should not affect the status of volunteers.38 The Hungarian law stipulates that life, health, accident, and liability insurance will not be considered remuneration.
Depending on the aim of the law and type of volunteering, countries could even consider including volunteers in the state-funded social security systems, which could be restricted and conditioned to volunteering for specific publicly beneficial purposes.
Country laws should ensure that unemployed individuals do not lose their benefits by volunteering. As noted above, this is important because volunteering can help unemployed people build their skills and prepare to respond to the needs of the labor market. Volunteering also enables them to gain more confidence and enthusiasm about their abilities.
Finally, volunteers should also be protected in terms of the conditions under which they provide their services. They should be subjected to same safety standards as employees, and organizations should ensure that the conditions are not hazardous to health and the possibilities of accidents are minimized. When volunteering might expose volunteers to dangerous conditions, they should be explicitly informed about this beforehand.
The law in Portugal stipulates that volunteers have the right to be integrated into the volunteering social insurance regime, in case they are not under a compulsory social security regime; to receive compensation, subsidies, pensions, and other benefits defined by law, in the event of accident or disease developed while volunteering; and to work in hygienic and safe conditions. The Polish law entitles the volunteer to healthcare benefits based on the regulations concerning common health insurance and to compensation in the event of an accident. Further, the law obliges the organization to provide accident insurance to those volunteers who provide services for not less than thirty days. In addition, the beneficiary must tell the volunteer about any health and safety risks connected with the services provided and about the rules for protection; and, based on the rules applying to employees in separate regulations, provide safe and hygienic circumstances, including relevant medical examinations, personal protection, and training in workplace safety and hygiene. The law also gives the volunteer the right to exempt the beneficiary from these obligations; however, such exemption must be done by written notice. In Hungary, organizations can sign insurance contracts, and they must provide safe conditions; volunteers can refuse to undertake an activity that constitutes a direct threat to life, health, or physical integrity. Casualty, health, and other risk insurance are among the minimum rights that volunteer contract in Romania should contain. The Italian law requires organizations to insure their members while carrying out volunteering activities against accidents and illness. In cases of long-term volunteering in the Czech Republic, the contracts may stipulate that volunteers should register for pension insurance if they meet the legal requirements, and that the organization shall pay for at least minimum pension insurance if the services are performed at least twenty hours per week on average.
- Other rights
Some laws also prescribe other rights to volunteers, which recognize that volunteers can and should benefit from the engagement. This is especially important for youth who can develop skills and get trained for jobs. For example, the Portuguese law provides that volunteers should have access to initial and ongoing training, so as to improve the provision of volunteer services, and to be heard on matters affecting the development of volunteering. The Romanian law also prescribes the volunteer’s right to participate actively in developing and performing the program and the right to be assigned to activities in accordance with his or her professional training. The Polish law also allows the beneficiary organization to cover training costs for volunteers.
Several laws, such as the Czech and Romanian, also ensure that volunteers have the rights of equal opportunity and treatment in providing services. The Hungarian law further contains rules regarding data protection, by prescribing that the organization may not disclose information concerning the volunteer to third parties, unless required by law.
In addition to rights, volunteers have certain obligations. The voluntary nature of the relationship does not absolve them of all duties. This is especially relevant in the cases of formal, long-term volunteer relationships, as it helps ensure the provision of the services with due diligence. To this end, the Portuguese act makes volunteers responsible for undertaking the activities they agreed to do, given the expectations raised in recipients. Generally, laws need not explicitly regulate all duties and obligations of volunteering and can leave the particulars to be regulated in the volunteer contract. Depending on the specific type of volunteering, laws may enumerate minimum obligations or provide a general framework.
In Hungary, volunteers are obliged to perform their activities in person and obey relevant legal rules, professional and ethical requirements, and the instructions of the host organization. They must protect any personal data, trade secrets, or other confidential information acquired while performing the activity. In Romania, volunteers are obliged to perform the assigned tasks; to keep information confidential; to participate in the lectures organized, initiated, or proposed by the organization; and to protect the goods they use.
|The Portuguese law stipulates, “Volunteers shall have the following duties: to observe the rules of professional ethics governing the activity they exercise, namely the respect for the private life of all beneficiaries; to observe the norms which regulate the functioning of the entity they collaborate with; to act in a diligent, impartial and solidary way; to participate in training programs aimed at developing capacities related to their activity; to provide for the best use of material resources and goods, equipment and devices put at their disposal; to collaborate with the organizations’ staff; to refrain from acting as representatives of the organization unless they have received such authorization; to guarantee that they will perform their activities in accordance with the program agreed upon and to duly use their identification as volunteers in the exercise of their activity.”|
The issue of liability is also important, because the legal framework can protect not only third parties from intentional or unintentional damage but also volunteers from damages or injuries they may cause. Generally, liability in instances of volunteering should fall under the scope of the civil law (contracts, torts) liability. As a matter of good practice, the organizations should subscribe volunteers to insurance liability policies and possibly cover any forms of negligence committed by volunteers.39
The Hungarian law contains detailed provisions regarding liability. Specifically, volunteers must tell the organization if the activity they were instructed to perform might cause damage. Volunteers who provide such notification are not liable for resultant damages. Host organizations are required to secure liability insurance to compensate for damages that occur while providing services, and they may use a volunteer only if the liability insurance also covers damages caused by the volunteer. Host organizations are liable for damages to a third party, however, if the damage was caused by the “imputable conduct of the volunteer”; the organization may in turn demand damages from the volunteer unless otherwise stipulated in the volunteer contract and is not obliged to pay compensation. Host organizations can be exempt from liability only if they can prove that the damage resulted from an unavoidable outside event or exclusively from the unavoidable conduct of the volunteer. Finally, volunteers’ close relatives may seek compensation for damages due to a volunteer’s death.
In Romania, liability issues arising from volunteer relationship are subject to the Civil Code. In Latvia, an association or foundation is liable for harm caused during volunteering if the harm is the organization’s fault or if the organization has assumed such responsibility. The Portuguese law requires that the volunteer agreement outline the liability coverage concerning harm to the volunteer and harm caused by the volunteer to third parties, taking into consideration the applicable norms on civil liability. The Italian law also requires organizations to insure volunteers against third-party liability related to the performance of their activities. The Czech law obliges the delegating organization to insure against material damage or medical harm suffered by the volunteer, whether caused by the volunteer or by a third party. Further, the volunteer is responsible only for intentionally caused harm.
Some laws create incentives to encourage wider volunteer engagement. In Portugal, volunteers may benefit from a special regime in using public transportation, as specified in applicable legislation. In the Czech Republic, the state may subsidize an organization’s costs for insurance, including pension insurance for a volunteer working on a long-term basis for at least 20 hours a week on average; record-keeping on volunteers; preparing to render volunteer services; and organizing the performance of the services. The Romanian law obliges local authorities to support those carrying out volunteer assignments, with priority given to activities that benefit underprivileged youth.
In addition, laws should generally support employee-volunteering schemes, which are increasingly elements of the overall social responsibility of corporations. Provisions should prevent any legal uncertainties that might discourage employers from allowing employees to volunteer. Experts recommend that employees’ time spent volunteering during working hours should be considered as “hours worked” under labor laws. In such cases, the employer should be bound by minimum wage, overtime, and related provisions that protect employees.40
6. International volunteering
National legal frameworks should aim to foster volunteering by their own citizens abroad as well as expand the legal protection to foreign volunteers serving in their countries. In fact, the international treaties mentioned earlier have primarily been adopted to promote this type of cross-national volunteering, recognizing its value in promoting solidarity and collaboration and contributing to the education of young people.41
Generally, reimbursement of the costs related to volunteering abroad (travel, accommodation, daily allowance) should not be taxable in the country of origin or in the host country. 42 Under the Hungarian law, for example, per diem paid to Hungarians volunteering abroad, or to foreigners volunteering in Hungary, is not considered remuneration, provided that the allowance does not exceed 20% of the prevailing mandatory minimum wage.
|The Hungarian law covers Hungarian citizens volunteering abroad, when such volunteering is organized by the host organizations in Hungary. It also provides that: |
“A citizen of a state which is not a state party of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (except for persons recognized as refugees or persons in a refugee-like situation, immigrants or permanent residents, and direct line relatives or spouses of citizens of a state party of the Agreement on the European Economic Area) may pursue public interest volunteer activity if:
“a) the host organization has concluded a liability insurance covering damages caused by the volunteer;
“b) meals, accommodation and return transportation of volunteer is provided for; and
“c) the volunteer is eligible to healthcare services or has an insurance covering the costs of healthcare services.”
Some countries may extend additional benefits, depending on the type of volunteering they promote. For example, the Czech law guarantees medical insurance to volunteers, depending on the nature of the services rendered and the local conditions. In addition, volunteers have the right to housing free of health risks if they provide services outside of their residences.
Another impediment to recruiting foreign volunteers is the visa. Where volunteering lacks legal status, these volunteers cannot obtain visas reflecting their purposes for visiting the country. Usually, they have tourist visas, which are of limited duration and do not provide a legal basis for the rights that such volunteers should be entitled to. Therefore, countries should enable foreigners to provide volunteer services through a special visa regime. For example, the Romanian law gives foreign volunteers the right to a residence permit for the duration of their volunteer activities.
The analysis here suggests that countries should revise laws or enact separate legislation in order to promote volunteerism, protect volunteers, and remove legal impediments. The legal regulations should:
- Distinguish volunteering from other types of legally recognized or regulated relationships;
- Clarify that volunteer services should be performed without compensation, as volunteering is understood as a donation of time and effort;
- Entitle volunteers to reimbursement of expenses, with such reimbursements exempt from taxation;
- Determine the rights and duties of volunteers;
- Protect volunteers while they are performing voluntary activity;
- Guarantee that volunteering will not affect one’s right to unemployment benefits;
- Introduce rules to protect third parties against any damage incurred due to volunteering;
- Provide optional benefits to volunteers; and
- Enable international volunteering.
In regulating volunteering, governments must set clear policies and goals, which will help determine the type of volunteering they want to regulate. Local traditions of volunteering must also be considered. Otherwise, laws might discourage spontaneous initiatives, burden on small organizations, and have a deterrent effect on the general culture of volunteering by giving advantages to one form of volunteering over others. Before launching a legal reform, a country must also comprehensively analyze their legal systems. In order to ensure that the legislative initiatives address real needs of the volunteer community, governments should make certain that all stakeholders are properly consulted and their comments are regarded in the draft provisions.
Finally, all governments should recognize volunteering as an initiative of citizens, based on their free will, to take action in the community in order to alleviate problems and contribute to the achievement of social and humanitarian goals. This activism should be appreciated, cultivated, and facilitated through state policies, so that formal and informal volunteer initiatives alike can flourish and help create a better society for all.
1 Katerina Hadzi-Miceva is Legal Advisor, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL). This article was funded, under the project “An Optimistic Look at NGOs and Domestic Resources,” by the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe through the Bulgarian Charities Aid Foundation. It has been translated into Croatian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian, to support the drafting of the laws in these countries. The translated versions are available at www.ecnl.org. The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Nilda Bullain.
2 Among others, United Nations International Year of Volunteering (2001), International Volunteer Day (December 5), European Workshop on Volunteer Action (VoluntEurope), National Conference on Volunteering – Croatia, 2005 Volunteer Year – UK. Council of Europe: Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of Member States on the Promotion of Voluntary Service (1994), Recommendation Improving the Status and Role of Volunteers as a Contribution by the Parliamentary Assembly to the IYV 2001.
5 Council of Europe Recommendation No.R (94)4 of the Committee of Ministers of Member States on the Promotion of Voluntary Service (1994).
6 Council of Europe, “Improving the Status and Role of Volunteers as a Contribution by the Parliamentary Assembly to the International Year of Volunteers 2001” (draft), Doc. 8917, December 22, 2000, http://www.seeyn.org/files/4/6_Voluntarism_and_public_institutions.pdf, 203-205.
7 “Volunteering ‘boosts community happiness,'” The Guardian, September 20, 2004, http://society.guardian.co.uk/volunteering/story/0,8150,1308716,00.html.
8 Lester M. Salamon, S. Wojciech Sokolowski, and Regina List, Global Civil Society: An Overview, John Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project (2003), http://www.jhu.edu/~ccss/publications/pdf/globalciv.pdf, 15.
9 Taryn Nelson, “A Comparative Look at National Volunteerism Legislation,” The Inter-American Initiative for Social Capital, Ethics and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, June 2005.
10 Lester M. Salamon and Wojciech Sokolowski, “Volunteering in Cross-National Perspective: Evidence from 24 Countries,” Working Papers of the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, no. 40 (2001), http://www.jhu.edu/~ccss/publications/pdf/cnpwp401.pdf, 8, fig. 1.
11 “Study of the extent and role of volunteering – 1997,” National Centre for Volunteering, cited in Council of Europe, “Improving the Status and Role of Volunteers as a Contribution by the Parliamentary Assembly to the International Year of Volunteers 2001,” Doc. 8917, December 22, 2000, http://www.seeyn.org/files/4/6_Voluntarism_and_public_institutions.pdf, 207.
12 “Volunteering ‘boosts community happiness,'” The Guardian, September 20, 2004, http://society.guardian.co.uk/volunteering/story/0,8150,1308716,00.html.
13 Raymond Stephens, “Latvian Volunteerism: In Search of a Favorable Environment,” SEAL, Autumn 2001.
14 Vojtech Tutr, “A draft Law for Czech Volunteers,” SEAL, Autumn 2001.
15 In 2002, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, www.icnl.org, convened international experts to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the legal issues affecting volunteering in Europe. Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002. The gathering resulted in Recommendations and Conclusions on Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers. The Recommendations were adapted for use in legislation in the Czech Republic and Lithuania, the first countries in the CEE region to adopt a law or regulation in this field, as well as Croatia, Bosnia and Hungary.
16 Association of Voluntary Service Organizations and European Volunteer Centre, “Country Report on the Legal Status of Volunteers in Estonia” (2005), http://www.avso.org/activities/countryreports/Estonia.pdf.
17 Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and UN Volunteers, “A Volunteerism and Legislation: A Guidance Note.”
18 The law defines volunteer organizations as those formed freely, to carry out activities defined by law, which predominantly or significantly use personal, voluntary, and unpaid services of members.
19 Association of Voluntary Service Organizations and European Volunteer Centre, “Country Report on the Legal Status of Volunteers in Italy” (2003), http://www.avso.org/activities/countryreports/Italy.pdf.
20 Article 17 of the Law on Employment Contract defines illegal work as work performed without an employment contract that accords with the law, even if features of such a contract are present, as well as work by foreign nationals or stateless persons who fail to comply with applicable employment procedures.
21 Association of Voluntary Service Organizations and European Volunteer Centre, “Country Report on the Legal Status of Volunteers in Luxembourg” (2005), http://www.avso.org/activities/countryreports/Luxembourg.pdf.
22 Miguel Angel Cabra de Luna, “The Regulation and Development of Voluntary Work in Spain,” SEAL, Autumn 2001.
23 Association of Voluntary Service Organizations and European Volunteer Centre, “Country Report on the Legal Status of Volunteers in Spain” (n.d.), http://www.avso.org/activities/countryreports/Spain.pdf.
24 Communication from the Commission to the Council, follow-up to the “White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth – Proposed Common Objectives for Voluntary Activities Among Young People in Response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 Regarding the Framework of European Cooperation in the Youth Field,” COM/2004/0337, http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52004DC0337:EN:HTML.
25 Convention on the Promotion of a Transnational Long-term Voluntary Service for Young People (2000), http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN/Treaties/Html/175.htm.
26 Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and UN Volunteers, “A Volunteerism and Legislation: A Guidance Note.”
27 Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002.
28 Council of Europe, “Improving the Status and Role of Volunteers as a Contribution by the Parliamentary Assembly to the International Year of Volunteers 2001” (draft), Doc. 8917, December 22, 2000, http://www.seeyn.org/files/4/6_Voluntarism_and_public_institutions.pdf, 210.
29 Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and UN Volunteers, “A Volunteerism and Legislation: A Guidance Note.”
30 Miguel Angel Cabra de Luna, “The Regulation and Development of Voluntary Work in Spain,” SEAL, Autumn 2001.
31 Association of Voluntary Service Organizations and European Volunteer Centre, “Country Report on the Legal Status of Volunteers in Romania” (2005), http://www.avso.org/activities/countryreports/Romania.pdf.
32 Communication from the Commission to the Council, follow-up to the “White Paper on a New Impetus for European Youth – Proposed Common Objectives for Voluntary Activities Among Young People in Response to the Council Resolution of 27 June 2002 Regarding the Framework of European Cooperation in the Youth Field,” COM/2004/0337, http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52004DC0337:EN:HTML.
34 Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland, January 23-26, 2002.
35 Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland, January 23-26, 2002.
36 Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002.
37 Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002.
38 For more on the relationship between social benefits and compensation, see Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002.
39 See Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002; and Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and UN Volunteers, “Volunteerism and Legislation: A Guidance Note.”
40 Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and UN Volunteers, “A Volunteerism and Legislation: A Guidance Note.”
41 See, for example, the Council of Europe, Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of Member States on the Promotion of Voluntary Service (1994).
42 Legal Issues Affecting Volunteers and Volunteering in Europe, Warsaw, Poland January 23-26, 2002.