2.4 Youth volunteering at national level
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There is no National Programme for Youth Volunteering developed in Romania.
A Volunteering Law was adopted in 2014 (Law no. 78/2014 regulating the volunteering activity in Romania). The law is replacing an older law from 2001 (amended in 2006). No stand-alone law on youth volunteering or other regulation dedication to youth volunteering is in force in Romania. The law was published in the Official Journal, but the text of the law is not available online.
The Volunteering Law is providing consistent and harmonized solutions at European level to problems of organizations working with volunteers and thus creating a modern legal framework, appropriately adapted to the national and European context in the field of volunteering.
In the contents of the first article of the Volunteering Law , volunteering is defined as an important factor in contributing to a competitive European labour market and the development of education and training, increasing social solidarity.
In this regard, Law no. 78/2014 on the regulation of volunteering activity in Romania, in the content of article 3 letter a, defines volunteering as being the activity of public interest, mandatory, unpaid, fulfilled by the voluntary decision, supported and promoted by the Romanian state, based on a volunteering contract, according to which the volunteer undertakes to perform the activity, and the host organization offers an activity proper to the person’s application and preparation, ensuring the expenses incurred.
Volunteering is based on several principles. Among these the principle according to which the volunteering activity does not substitute paid work and also the principle of the public interest feature of volunteering activity. Theseare meant to help clarifying the types of actions that are voluntary or not, especially when the public benefit is indirect or extremely difficult to identify.
The organizations working with volunteers are obliged to include explicit provisions regarding the involvement of volunteers and how their activity is being managed in the contents of their status or the internal procedures of organizations.
The Volunteering Law contains important new elements on the demand for volunteering. The law provides that supporting volunteering should not represent a means of reducing costs by the local public authorities, indicating the annual meetings of local public administration authorities with representatives of local host organizations of volunteers in order to organize effective cooperation and the involvement of local public administration in promoting and supporting the International Day of Volunteers on 5th December.
According to the Volunteering Law, volunteering can be considered "professional and / or specialty experience, if it is achieved in the field of studies".
There is no specific budget allocated at the central level for youth volunteering. If budget allocations are made at local level, there are isolated initiatives of municipal councils, and they are not integrated in a volunteering programme.
According to Eurobarometer data from the spring of 2010, Romania had approximately 4.4 million volunteers i.e. about 20% of the population being involved in such activities specific mainly to people under 35 years, and those involved or included in the educational system.
According to the Youth Barometer commissioned by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2020, 52% of young people have been participating in volunteering activities, compared to only 13% in 2012.
According to the Volunteering Law, host organisations have to cover all incurring expenses of the volunteers. No public programme or support is available for this, the host organisations being fully responsible.
Volunteers are entitled to work protection training under the same regulations as paid employees. Insurances for health and accidents is optional and it is fully the responsibility of the host organisations. The state or other public bodies are not supporting volunteering through social security provisions, for example volunteers are not eligible for unemployment insurance.
Host organisations are responsible for establishing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assure the quality of volunteering programmes and activities for young people, and their functioning.
The Labour Inspection is the public authority monitoring volunteering. It is focused on the compliance of working conditions and on the simulation of labour contracts as volunteering contracts.
There is no mechanism in place for collecting young volunteers' feedback on their experiences. As a result of the lack of the QA mechanism, no outcomes are published on the youth volunteering in general, the social inclusion of volunteering programmes, in terms of fostering inclusiveness, diversity and accessibility. Central authorities do not monitor the degree of social inclusion of volunteering programmes at local level - where these programmes exist - or of programmes implemented by private organisations.
There are no official documents identifying specific target groups within the youth population whose participation in voluntary activities shall be fostered.