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EACEA National Policies Platform


2. Voluntary Activities

2.10 Current debates and reforms

Last update: 29 January 2024
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  1. Ongoing debates

Forthcoming policy developments

In 2022, the Austrian government initiated a multi-stage citizen participation process to gather input for amending the Volunteering Act. The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection commissioned the 'Community of interest of non-profit organisations (IGO – Interessensgemeinschaft gemeinnütziger Organisationen)' to carry out this process.

From April to June 2022, volunteers and individuals working with volunteers were invited to share their perspectives on improving volunteer policy through the website '' ( The outcome of this process was a report titled 'Civil Society Recommendations for the Amendment of the Volunteering Act'.

Ongoing debates

In order to maintain the high level of volunteering and to attract more young people, Austrian voluntary organisations strongly advocate an improvement of the framework conditions and the structure of volunteering. Proposals for reform include improved insurance coverage, the nationwide expansion of volunteer infrastructure (volunteer centres) and qualification initiatives for volunteers. In addition, they emphasise a clear demarcation of volunteering from employment subject to social security contributions and consideration of the relevance of volunteering in times of pandemics (e.g. Alliance for Non-Profit – Bündnis für Gemeinnützigkeit).

The ongoing war against Ukraine has moved many persons in Austria, including young ones, to volunteer for people in or from Ukraine. Various volunteer platforms offer information on this and help to connect volunteers with organisations and initiatives looking for support.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the continuous carrying out of volunteering activities (particularly abroad) was met with severe challenges. Nevertheless, volunteering has upheld its high relevance in these times of crisis - whether young people shopping for neighbours at risk or volunteers in health care (e.g. Red Cross).