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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki
Slovenia

Slovenia

2. Voluntary Activities

2.4 Youth volunteering at national level


National Programme for Youth Volunteering

There is no National programme for Youth Volunteering in Slovenia.  

Funding

The sources of funding for voluntary activities are dispersed and little systematic information is available on this matter.

The largest proportion of funds comes from governmental and municipal sources or from NGOs’ own assets. The projects are mostly financed by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Ministry of Education and Sport and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth.

 

Major sources of financing voluntary work are the following:

  • National Social Security Programme that takes into account the activity of the non-government sector and volunteers’ activity as an integral part of social security system;
  • Concessions granted by the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities for social assistance programmes of non-government and private sectors;
  • Public tenders for the co-financing of youth programmes and programmes of youth organisations issued by the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth;
  • Tax relief for humanitarian and charity contributions;
  • Contributions by local community, municipal budget;
  • “Erasmus+” Programme;
  • Foundation for Financing Disabled People’s and Humanitarian Organisations (FIHO) with National Lottery funds;
  • Foundation for financing sports organisations;
  • Membership fees of the organisations;
  • Donations from businesses or profit-making sector, sponsorships.

 

Another source of financing voluntary organisations is stipulated by the Personal Income Tax Act (Zakon o dohodnini) which states that 0.5% of income may be taxed and directed to financing activities of general public benefit (Article 142). This is a new source of funding for voluntary organisations carrying out non-profit activities in the public interest, i.e. organisations for human rights protection, protection against natural and other disasters, organisations for people with disabilities, charitable, ecological, cultural, sports, religious and other purpose organisations.

 

There is data on public financing of non-governmental organisations, although not all of them are registered as voluntary organisations, based on records provided by the State Treasury cash flows, including ministries, government departments, agencies, municipalities, and other public bodies.

 

According to data provided by the Centre for information service, co-operation and development of NGOs, non-governmental organisations received 166.8 million EUR of public funds in 2003, which incrementally increased to 282.6 million EUR in 2015 and to 333.2 million EUR in 2018. In 2018, over 311 million EUR were allocated from direct and indirect budget users (ministries, municipalities, public agencies and institutions), 21.7 million EUR by the Foundation for Funding Humanitarian and Disabled People's Organisations (FIHO) and the Foundation for Financing Sports Organisations in the Republic of Slovenia (FSO). According to the same source, 15,691 non-governmental organisations managed to receive public funds in 2018.

 

Table 1: Scope of public funding of non-governmental organisations in 2009, and 2015-2018 in EUR

funders/year

2009

2015

2016

2017

2018

Ministries

78.367.362,86

73.535.567,48

75.165.646,06

85.260.689,57

99.915.370,41

Municipalities

91.694.914,82

99.325.864,68

100.911.512,39

112.328.563,22

115.389.777,15

Other public institutions

 

68.394.840,98

 

83.451.529,18

 

83.642.376,54

 

88.068.700,57

 

91.545.129,61

Financial administration of the Republic of Slovenia (mainly assets from 0.5% of personal income tax)

 

 

 

 

 

3.178.250,65

 

 

 

 

 

3.764.521,89

 

 

 

 

 

3.879.270,98

 

 

 

 

 

4.186.317,25

 

 

 

 

 

4.564.739,84

FIHO and FŠO

30.153.292,80

22.483.838,05

19.805.973,11

20.863.839,70

21.743.621,32

Total

272.914.809,24

292.978.671,68

297.948.135,07

287.559.412,16

291.710.853,12

Source: Centre for information service, co-operation and development of NGOs

 

 

Characteristics of youth volunteering

Many young people take part in voluntary activities. Such activities, in keeping with other findings (Pichler, 2006), raise general life satisfaction (7.22 among those who have not taken part during the last year, compared to 7.51 for those who have). (see Youth 2013). ’The survey “Youth 2010, The Social Profile of Young People in Slovenia” included several indicators of young people’s voluntary activities, and they all fall into the basic conceptual framework of voluntary activities and civil society participation: 1) non-formal work or activities, generally in cooperation with others, in order to deal with specific issues, and 2) membership in voluntary societies and organisations.

Slovenian youth are more active in activities linked to the safety and upkeep of the location where the respondent resides (68.6 percent of young people), and to youth interests and young people (67.2 percent). The data also show that around a quarter of Slovenian youth are active in firefighting societies, and just under 17 percent in the scouts. The survey checked the extent to which Slovenian youth (compared to EU-27 youth) are members of voluntary organisations. Slovenian youth are in two types of organisation that have the most members: sports/recreation organisations and cultural organisations. Among Slovenian youth the only notably lower membership is in political parties which might be due to a low level of trust in political officials and institutions, low conventional participation and so forth.

 

The key findings of the survey can be summarised in the following points:

  1. Compared to 1995, Slovenian youth are significantly more active in the voluntary sphere.
  2. Out of all forms of participation, young people are most frequently involved in voluntary activities. In addition to involvement in employment and education, voluntary activities are the main mechanism for social inclusion in Slovenia.
  3. In the past 15 years there has been a major increase in the willingness of students to participate in actions that improve the status of young people.
  4. Voluntary activities are mainly associated with the more adjusted psychosocial development of young people. A willingness to help peers and older people is associated primarily with indicators of more adjusted development, while membership in voluntary societies is generally associated with negative indicators of development.
  5. Being female, older, living in an urban environment, higher educational qualifications of the respondent and higher economic status of the family are factors that positively influence most forms of voluntarism.

 

 

Political and voluntary activities are relatively strongly associated positively with each other. The 2018 Yearly Report on volunteerism in Slovenia (Skupno poročilo o prostovoljstvu v Republiki Sloveniji za leto 2018), prepared by the Ministry of Public Administration which is responsible for the monitoring of voluntary organisations, as based on the Volunteering Act, showed that volunteers under 18 years carry out 13% of all registered volunteer hours (in 2017: 12%, 2016: 7%, 2015: 2%) and volunteers aged 18 to 30 years 20% (in 2017: 18%, 2016: 29%, 2015: 13%). These data are based on the data from organisations that are enrolled in the official registry. It is assumed that the percentage of young volunteers is much higher, but the youth organisations are not enrolled in the registry, mainly due to the lack of financial and human resources for administration, and therefore they are not included in the official statistics.

 

In 2009, the Office for Youth, together with the Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, prepared an analysis of inclusion of young people in voluntary activities (see report in Slovene). These data show much higher involvement of young people compared to older generations in regular voluntary activities (participation at least once a week).

 

Inclusion of volunteers by age (in percentages)

 

Up to 29 Years

From 30 to 60 years

Older than 60

Total

At least once a week

5,9

5,4

3,9

5,1

At least once a month

3,5

9,6

6,4

7,3

At least once in three months

4,7

5,5

4,1

5,0

At least once in six months

9,4

9,4

4,1

8,1

Not so often

15,8

9,3

6,9

10,2

Never

60,7

60,8

74,6

64,3

Total

100,0

100,0

100,0

100,0

 

Helping others (in percentages)

 

Up to 29 Years

From 30 to 60 years

Older than 60

Total

At least once a week

29,1

26,7

21,5

26,0

At least once a month

27,4

28,3

20,4

26,0

At least once in three months

14,1

14,5

9,5

13,1

At least once in six months

11,2

11,3

9,5

10,8

Not so often

10,3

6,0

9,5

7,9

Never

7,9

13,2

29,6

16,1

Total

100,0

100,0

100,0

100,0

 

Support to young volunteers

The Volunteering Act includes two important aspects: on one hand the economic impact in the form of refunding material expenses, rewarding and comparison of volunteers, and on the other hand it states among the benefits of voluntary work the acquisition of new knowledge and experience and thus provides a measure of the educational impact of volunteering.

The costs associated with volunteering that can be reimbursed include travel to and from the place of volunteering, travel while volunteering, meals (when work lasts more than four hours), accommodation, postage, phone calls, stationery etc., and cost of protective clothing/special equipment. The Volunteering Act obliges voluntary organisation to sign an agreement with a volunteer in order to specify all the cost that will be reimbursed, so the reimbursement of expenses related to volunteers’ activity is left at the discretion of the host organisation.

 

Under the Slovenian tax law reimbursements for food, accommodation or any other expenses related to the voluntary activity (e.g. travel cost) as well as the volunteer allowance, are not subject to taxation as long as the volunteer does not receive any type of financial remuneration or award from the voluntary organisation. If the volunteer receives such financial award or remuneration, then both received income and reimbursements are subject to taxation.

According to the Personal Income Tax Act, tax exemption applies to “revenues intended to cover documented costs of transport, subsistence and accommodation, when the payment is made to a volunteer individual or person respondent to an invitation or call to participate in various activities - amateur, voluntary, humanitarian or charitable activities, educational training, health, humanitarian, cultural, sports, research, trade union activities, activities carried out by chambers, religious communities and political parties, provided that the said activities are non-profit and voluntary, or carried out on the basis of an invitation or call to participate in activities of associations and unions” (Article 107). The activities need to be in line with the objectives or purposes for which the societies are established, and should not seek financial profits.

 

A foreign volunteer who is included in organised voluntary activity is entitled to receive the compensation for personal expenses if this was agreed with volunteer’s sending organisation or is part of the international treaty that promotes international exchanges of volunteers.

The amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act provides that Slovenian volunteers who are sent to voluntary services abroad are entitled to the tax-free allowance for personal expenses, but it must be part of the agreement between hosting and sending organisation or part of the international treaty or European or international programme that defines these benefits.

 

For health insurance, the Volunteering Act states that volunteer organisations must pay health insurance for volunteers carrying out organised voluntary work if these activities constitute a danger to the health of life of a volunteer, or if health insurance is part of an agreement. However, this is not a major issue as all people legally resident in Slovenia, including students, unemployed, employed and retired persons, benefit from the obligatory health insurance which covers the basic rights. Students and employees also benefit from specific insurance policies.

 

According to specific laws, e.g. Law on Fire Brigades, Law on Protection against Natural and Other Disasters as well as Healthcare and Health Insurance Act, volunteers are entitled to insurance. However, as the above-mentioned strand of legislation suggests, the obligation of insurance only pertains to certain specific volunteers.

 

With regard to other insurance benefits, volunteers do not benefit from pension and disability insurance (as it is the case for the employed), unemployment insurance, parent care insurance, work accident insurance and professional disease insurance.

 

Quality Assurance

Supervision of the implementation of the provisions of the Volunteering Act is in hands of different competent authorities: Ministry of Public Administration (inspectors), Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities (inspectors), Information Commissioner.

There are no official documents defining quality standards in the field of youth volunteering in Slovenia. Minimum obligations of organisations when sending and receiving volunteers have been defined by the legislation within the Volunteering Act. Inter alia, the Volunteering Act regulates involvement of young people under age of 15 who can engage in voluntary activities only if these activities contribute to their educational and personal development, if they do not pose a threat to their health and do not prevent them to fulfil school obligations. In addition, Article 11 of the Volunteering Act advises voluntary organisation to place additional precautions when organising activities that involve people with special needs or vulnerable groups.

 

Monitoring of the implementation of the Volunteering Act, in accordance with its Article 49, is done by inspectors of the Ministry of Public Administrations. Information Commissioner of the Republic of Slovenia monitors the protection of personal data.

 

In 2006, the cooperation between various voluntary organisations resulted in the development of a Volunteering Ethics Code (Etični kodeks organiziranega prostovoljstva), which contains basic guidelines and minimum standards that volunteers and their organisations are encouraged to comply with. The Code gives basic instructions for voluntary work, applicable to all types of voluntary organisations and volunteers. By signing the Code, an organisation obtains the right to use the logo of Volunteering as a symbol of the quality of their work, which is awarded by the Centre for the Development and Promotion of Voluntary Work of the Slovene Philanthropy.

The Code of Ethics was developed with the assistance of a large number of different organisations and experts in the voluntary sector. The initiative benefitted from the support of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. As of 2 December 2019, 1453 organisations out of more than 1600 which are included in the volunteering network had signed the Code of Ethics.

 

Amongst other things, the Code emphasises the following:

  • respect of confidentiality of personal data;
  • working for the best interest of the user;
  • no exploitation of power by a volunteer or an organisation;
  • active participation of users;
  • concern for the integrity, dignity and respect for all the involved (volunteers, users and organisations);
  • concern for the reputation of voluntary work.

 

 

The Code also specifies that volunteers have the right:

  • to be informed about their work and voluntary organisation;
  • to be familiarised with the work;
  • to get the support and acknowledgement of their work;
  • to be provided with opportunities of learning and advancement at work;
  • to be given the opportunity to say their opinion and participate in the decision-making;
  • to be given the opportunity to participate in the organisation of voluntary work;
  • to have expenses reimbursed; and
  • to benefit from insurance.

 

 

There is a registry of organisations offering volunteering opportunities to volunteers. The legal basis for the registry is the Volunteering Act which in its Article 38 defines that all NGOs carrying out voluntary work have a right to enter the official registry. The electronic registry of voluntary organisations and organisations organising voluntary programmes contains the following information: registration number of a legal person and its data, the activity of a legal person and dates when an organisation entered the registry. Once a year the registered organisations need to submit a report on volunteering, including data on the number of volunteers by gender and age groups and the total number of volunteers’ hours depending on the type of volunteer work. Reports are submitted to the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services for the purpose of national statistics. Aggregated data on volunteer work in Slovenia are submitted to the Ministry of Public Administration, which prepares a yearly report on the situation of volunteering in Slovenia and sends it to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for its information.

 

The Ministry of Public Administration is mainly responsible for QA of voluntary activities. In general, the voluntary organisations under the provision of the Volunteering Act are obliged to provide training and tutoring if it is necessary due to the nature of voluntary work, or if the volunteer expressed the need for training. Voluntary organisations have no obligation to report about their quality assurance schemes to the competent ministries, unless their programmes are subject to co-financing from funds based on public calls for specific programmes.

 

 

Target groups

No specific target groups within the youth population are defined in the official documents in Slovenia apart from the Article 18 of the Volunteering Act which requires a legal representative or custodian to sign a volunteer agreement if a child is under the age of 15. 

However, the promotion of volunteering specifically among primary and high school students is included in The National Youth Strategy where the proportion of people that belong to those groups are used as an indicator in measuring the voluntary activities of youth.