Taking part in volunteer work while unemployed
While unemployed, you may take part in volunteer work and voluntary projects without losing your unemployment benefit.
As an unemployed jobseeker, you can take part in unpaid volunteer work or group projects in the same way as an employed person. You will not lose your unemployment benefit if you take part in normal unpaid, volunteer work or voluntary group projects.
On the other hand, if you work without a salary in a company or a task that is usually carried out in an employment relationship or you work as an entrepreneur free-of-charge, you cannot receive an unemployment benefit.
Voluntary projects are generally done without a salary and usually comprise an activity that will be of assistance to a neighbour, relative, friend or acquaintance.
Volunteer work is the promotion of the objectives of public interest or activities that support the operations of non-profit organisations.
Volunteer work includes
- helping at sports and public events
- providing support in peer support groups
- activism in associations
- participation of social activities.
A key distinguishing sign of volunteer work or voluntary group projects is that they are activities for which one is not paid. Meals and snacks offered during volunteer work and especially voluntary group projects are not considered a salary. Work is also considered unpaid if the charges involved in your participation, such as travel on public transport, a mileage allowance for the use of your own car or the use of your own phone is paid on your behalf.
Induction or training involved in volunteer activities is considered part of volunteer work or training akin to a hobby, which will not affect your unemployment benefit.
It is enough to notify the TE Office of volunteer or voluntary work while you are in touch with them for other reasons. It is a good idea to mention volunteer work or voluntary projects, because this provides information on your skills and competencies.
If it is not completely clear whether the volunteer work in question is the unpaid, common volunteer or voluntary work that is of public interest referred to in the Unemployment Security Act, the TE Office will send you a request for further information that you can reply to.
While unemployed you cannot decline an offered job or services that will promote your employment or drop out of these services on the basis of participation in volunteer or voluntary work.
If you notify the TE Office that you will not apply for or cannot accept full-time employment due to volunteer work or voluntary projects, you will lose the right to your unemployment benefit.