Within the welfare state, voluntary work is a meaningful supplement to normal paid work (i.e. work involveing compulsory social insurance contributions). In Austria, 46 percent of the population over the age of 15 carry out some form of voluntary work (see the survey on voluntary work).
Voluntary engagement in indispensable for Austria - but not taken for granted. To promote voluntary work, the Ministry of Social Affairs ensures that the basic conditions for it are attractive. The legal basis for this is the Voluntary Work Act.
The Federal act on the promotion of voluntary work came into effect in 2012. It provides the legal foundations and lays down the basic conditions for the support of voluntary work in Austria. In addition, it regulates programmes like the Voluntary Social Year, Holocaust Memorial Service and Peace- and Social Service Abroad.A Voluntary Social Year can only be concluded with recognised organisations which are selected according to a strict procedure. A complete list is available from the downloads area.
The Voluntary Work Act lays down that a report on the status and development of voluntary work in Austria has to be drawn up jointly with the Austrian Voluntary Work Council.
The 2nd Voluntary Work report 2015 deals with the definition and significance of voluntary work and offers an outlook on future trends.
The Voluntary Work Council is a statutory body with the goal of increasing the recognition for and appreciation of voluntary work. A further goal is to improve the basic conditions for voluntary work. In order to achieve these goals, it advises the Ministry of Social Affairs, promotes networking and makes proposals for the implementation of policy on voluntary work.
The members of the Voluntary Work Council are appointed for five years. A list of the current members is available in the downloads area.