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EACEA National Policies Platform


10. Youth work

10.3 Support to youth work

Last update: 29 January 2024

Policy legal framework

Youth work and youth policy in Slovakia is not dealt with by just one piece of legislation. Life and circumstances of young people are influenced by a range of laws and regulations. Based on the membership in the European Union and the Council of Europe, Slovakia is also bound by the key documents of these institutions.

Act No. 282/2008 on Support of Youth Work defines youth work as mainly an educational activity, a societal activity, an informational activity or an advisory activity for youth, young leaders, youth leaders and youth workers. The main goal of youth work is to ensure personal, professional, and social development of target groups through non-formal education.

Documents include the National Strategy of the Slovak Republic for Youth for years 2014-2020, Concept Note for development of Youth work for years 2016-2020 and Action Plan for implementation of Concept Note for development of Youth work for years 2016-2020 and 2017-2018, adopted by the government of the Slovak Republic. This helped to strengthen the position of Youth Work. The evaluation of the implementation of the National Strategy for Youth for the years 2014-2020 has been conducted and the new Strategy for 2021-2028 is in the preparation process.

Act No. 282/2008 on Support of Youth Work also regulates the conditions under which individuals, organizations and institutions may be granted a state subsidy in the field of youth work.

NIVAM – Slovak Youth Institute supports youth work through the activities of Youth Work Support Department. Main tasks of this department are:

  • Providing educational activities and information for youth workers

  • Networking the stakeholders, youth organizations and youth workers

  • Research in the field of youth and youth work.


Main sources of public funding:

a) State budget via system of parity taxes through municipalities/towns and regional governments

Local authorities are responsible for children (0-15 years old). Regional authorities have responsibilities for young people from 15 to 18 years old. These financial resources are not earmarked for youth work only, their use is controlled by the self-government, which sometimes retains part of the financial resources as its original competences (Youth Report/Správa o mládeži 2018, p.81). 

Youth clubs (Leisure-time activities centres) are financed via system of parity taxes as well as by member fees of club and groups according to legislation given by the local government. Members of the clubs and groups can cover annual fees through education vouchers as well (provided by MERDY). The education voucher is worth 32 € for 2021. The education voucher represents a special annual contribution of the state to educational and leisure-time activities (hobbies) for students.

b) Programmes for Youth - Grant Scheme, MERDY

Programmes support mainly national or intraregional youth organizations (5.6 Supporting youth organizations), organizations providing youth counselling and information services. Part of the financial amount is dedicated to one-off projects focused on annual priorities, research projects and projects dedicated to local youth policy development (support of local governments in building local youth policy). In 2020 MERDY subsidized youth providers with 3 729 565 €.

c) Erasmus + 

European Union financial support from the beginning (at pre-accession period) became the crucial tool for youth work development. Erasmus+ (Youth chapter) for 2020 brought 3 647 774 € for Key Actions 1, 2 and 3. Significant role in Slovak youth work development has European Solidarity Corps and its contribution for 2020. 

Conditions and requirements to benefit from public funding

a) State budget via system of parity taxes:

This system allows self-governments to decide (based on own analyses and democratic governance) what activities and purposes the taxes are used for, by means of legislative acts, strategies and conceptions. The state defines a common framework, e.g., National Youth Strategy, Conception of Youth Work Development. It is exclusively the task of self-governments to decide what means (financed from the taxes) the state-defined goals will be achieved at local or regional levels. Quality assurance is also in hands of self-governments.

b) Programmes for Youth - Grant Scheme, MERDY

For more information on Programmes for Youth, see 1.7. Funding youth policy.

c) Erasmus +

Erasmus+ is specific about conditions and requirements on beneficiaries. Each line/Key Action determines exactly who and if what conditions are met can receive a financial subsidy.

Eligible activities and target groups in funding

a) State budget via system of parity taxes:

Eligibility of activities and choice of priority target group is fully dependent on the decision of local and regional parliaments according to their needs and priorities.

b) Programmes for Youth - Grant Scheme, MERDY

Any type of activities defined in the Act on Youth Work Support, priority group is youth 13 – 17 years of age.

c) Erasmus + programme support youth exchanges, voluntary service (including European Solidarity Corps), training and further education, strategical partnerships etc. priority target groups are defined by National Agencies – generally young people with fewer opportunities are priority in all countries (e.g., young unemployed, ethnic minorities etc.).

d) EU funds

In general, youth work is supported by EU funds through Erasmus+.

European structural and investment funds are available in Slovakia, but the decision to allocate these resources for youth work development is exclusively competence of the government and priorities of the individual Programmes. The project KOMPRAX – Competences for Practice, implemented in 2011-2015, was the last programmes supporting youth work development. Sustainability period of mentioned projects ends in March 2021.

Despite the state financial support, youth work in Slovakia is still lacking enough financial resources and it is underestimated. There is also a significant discrepancy between the quality of youth work in rural areas and in the cities.

For more on Funding Youth Work See 1.7.


As youth work is one of the main thematic fields of Slovak Youth Strategy 2014 - 2020, all consultation processes during the creation of strategy and its evaluation also contained discussion on youth work development. One of the outcomes was the preparation of Conception of Youth Work Development for 2016 - 2020 (Koncepcia rozvoja práce s mládežou). 

Until 2021, youth work stakeholders were included in this activities and processes:

  • Preparation of a new Youth Strategy for 2021 – 2028 and its individual themes such as health and well-being, working group on quality standards in youth work (Štandardy kvality práce s mládežou), 

  • Monitoring committee on Programmes for Youth (Statute/Štatút), 

  • Regular meetings of cross-sectoral working group for state policy in the field of youth, coordinated by MERDY, e.g., meeting in November 2019 where the main topics of discussion were amended Youth Work Support Act,

  • Preparation of new Youth Strategy for 2021 -2028 and continuation of work of MERDY in the future. 

NIVAM has signed memorandum pledging to work together in the field of youth work with these partners:

  • Slovenský zväz ľadového hokeja (Slovak ice hockey league)

  • Žilinský samosprávny kraj (Žilina self-governing region)

  • Centrum pre podporu neformálneho vzdelávania (Centre for the Support of Non-Formal Education) – CeNeF

  • OZ PREVENTISTA (A project aimed at preventing IT crime and contributing to the promotion of information security)

  • Junior Achievement SR (A project aimed at developing entrepreneurship, economical thinking, and financial literacy in youth).

  • OZ Outdoor Institute (Providing leisure-time and educational programmes for youth)

  • ROZBEHNI SA! (A programme that helps young people with launching of their projects)

  • EURES Slovensko

  • I AMbitious (Non-formal training programmes for high school students in Slovakia).