2. Voluntary Activities
Voluntary engagement as a meaningful contribution to society (and supplement to regular paid work) holds a high social value in Austria. The country thus holds a very strong position in the field: according to the most recent Volunteering Report (Freiwilligenbericht, 2019) by the former Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, 46% of people aged 15 and above volunteer. Participation in volunteering is high among all age groups. 43% of young people bellow the age of 30 engage in formal or informal volunteering. Similarly, of young people aged 15 to 24 around 43% are involved in community service. Around three out of ten are active in organisations, while about a quarter provides (additional) neighbourhood assistance.
To promote voluntary work, the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection (Bundesministerium für Soziales, Gesundheit, Pflege und Konsumentenschutz) ensures attractive basic conditions. The legal basis is provided by the Federal Act on the Promotion of Voluntary Work / Voluntary Work Act (Bundesgesetz zur Förderung von freiwilligem Engagement / Freiwilligengesetz). Inter alia, it regulates programmes such as the Voluntary Social Year and Peace and Social Services abroad. The Voluntary Work Act came into effect in 2012 and was last changed in 2018.
The Freiwilligenweb Website (German only) by the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection provides all relevant information to (prospective) volunteers.