Volunteer - where and how can he work
A volunteer is a person who volunteers to do work without being paid. Volunteering is a voluntary activity for the benefit of people who are not bound by family ties, as well as for the benefit of society as a whole. These people get involved in helping people, non-governmental organizations or other institutions that do not run a business. The rules of volunteers' work are regulated by the Act of April 24, 2003 on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work. If to perform certain activities it is required to have appropriate qualifications, the volunteer is obliged to have them and to meet other relevant requirements that result from separate regulations.
The work of volunteers can be used by schools, hospitals and hospices, prisons (if the tasks performed are beneficial for society), and social welfare centers.
A volunteer may provide work for:
- non-governmental organizations and other entities listed in the Act regulating the work of volunteers (Article 3 (3)),
- public administration bodies,
- organizational units subject to or supervised by public administration,
- medical entities.
However, these entities must meet all the requirements listed in Article 20 of the Act on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work.
Volunteers cannot perform work if their duties contribute to the conduct of economic activity by the entities. Volunteers perform work related to the sphere of public tasks, including: charity, social assistance, health protection, science and education, culture and art, protection of cultural goods and national heritage.
In special cases, the age and gender of the volunteer may be important, as well as having medical examinations allowing them to start work.
A person who voluntarily undertakes a specific job should be qualified for it and meet the requirements for the entrusted duties, if such an obligation results from separate regulations (e.g. doctors).
While performing his / her activities, a volunteer does not perform work corresponding to the work regulated by the Labor Code. For the duties performed, the volunteer does not receive remuneration and does not sign an employment contract, but only a cooperation agreement. Therefore, a volunteer who is also an unemployed person does not lose the right to unemployment benefit. Activities performed by a volunteer do not count towards the number of years of service and do not have any impact on obtaining employee rights.
Volunteer - rights and obligations
The Act assigns certain rights to volunteers, the most important of which is the right to:
- information on the risk to health and safety related to the performed work,
- ensuring safe and hygienic working conditions,
- receipt of personal protective equipment,
- reimbursement of the costs of business travel and subsistence allowances, on the terms applicable to employees, specified in separate regulations (a written volunteer may release the beneficiary from this obligation).
Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, a volunteer may be entitled to health services under the Act on health care services financed from public funds, and when the activities are performed for more than 30 days, the volunteer should provide him with accident insurance. Additionally, the user may cover the costs of volunteer training in the scope of the services provided by him / her specified in the agreement.
The volunteer must fulfill the obligations set out in the agreement, even if the agreement was not made in writing. He is also responsible for property and property entrusted to him. He should also observe professional secrecy.
Agreement with the volunteer
Specification of the requirements related to the provision of work by a volunteer is specified in an agreement concluded between the user and the volunteer. The Act on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work requires that the agreement should contain a provision on the possibility of its termination and - if the work exceeds 30 days - that the agreement be in writing. When the work is performed for a shorter period, it is possible to conclude an oral or any other agreement, unless the volunteer requests a written version of the agreement.