Volunteering is based on an agreement between the volunteer and the organization they’re helping. Volunteers aren’t considered employees because they’re not paid. If the volunteer service is longer than 30 days, the agreement should be in writing. Volunteers can ask for a certificate that says what work they did.
The law doesn’t set a limit on how many hours volunteers can work. If the volunteer is an adult or over 16, it’s good practice not to let them work more than 8 hours a day. For kids under 16, limit it to 6 hours a day. During the school year, young volunteers shouldn’t work more than 12 hours a week.
Employers can support their employees’ volunteer work in different ways like money, time, or resources. This is still considered volunteering, but different rules apply.
Forms of Employee Volunteering
When employers support their employees’ volunteer work, it counts as employee volunteering. Employee volunteering varies from employer-led initiatives to individual efforts.
- Employee Whip-round: Fundraising or in-kind donations organized by employees, supported passively or actively by employers.
- Skills-based Volunteering: Employees offer their professional skills for free, including pro bono work.
- Mentoring: Involves ongoing support or career advice and is becoming popular in Poland.
- Personal Volunteering: Any unpaid community service supported by the employer becomes employee volunteering when supported.
- Posting: An employee can be assigned to work in a nonprofit, either short-term or long-term. This often happens in international programs and may include moving to another country. It’s a way to prevent employee burnout.
- Team Volunteering: Employees form a team to tackle a community project. Employers may financially support this. Team projects can also occur during company training or social events.
- Activity in the Workplace: These are community-benefiting activities that happen at work, like hosting children for visits or offering short internships. These aren’t considered employee volunteering if they’re part of regular job duties.
Employee volunteering is based on the Act of 24 April 2003 on public benefit activities and volunteering. The Civil Code and the Labour Code provisions also apply. Activities based on the Act on the principles of conducting public collections (Journal of Laws of 2014, item 498, as amended) and activities related to blood donation can also be included in employee volunteering.