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What is voluntary work?

What is volunteering? 

Nowadays there are more and more risks in life and people who engage in voluntary work ask themselves questions about their protection during their activities, but also about the paths and routes taken in the interest of the organisation. Finally, the question of the status of volunteers is also a question of the recognition of their work.

A volunteer is someone who, of his or her own free will and without remuneration in the monetary sense of the term, undertakes an action in the service of a third party or the community. In addition to the costs incurred in the course of voluntary work, compensation may be paid, provided it is purely symbolic.

There is no status for volunteers in Luxembourg. Nevertheless, as far as social security is concerned, the legislator has taken account, at least in part, of the phenomenon of voluntary work.

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How does it differ from volunteering? 

Volunteering and voluntary service are both forms of personal commitment. Whether you are a volunteer or a voluntary worker, you are investing your time and energy in a good opportunity. There are formal differences between these two forms of commitment:

Volunteering is the free and unpaid commitment of people who act, for others or for the collective interest, in a structure that goes beyond simple family or friendly mutual aid.

Voluntary service
Voluntary service allows young people under the age of 30 to invest themselves in a well-defined project of general interest of their choice on a full-time basis for a fixed period which, in principle, cannot be less than 3 months and which cannot exceed 12 months. The volunteer is not the project leader, but rather is supported in carrying out his/her tasks. It is an opportunity for learning and orientation through practical experience, which helps to develop ideas and talents, which allows to be with other young people, while collaborating with professionals at national and international level.

The voluntary service of young people is regulated by the law of 31 October 2007, which provides volunteers with a number of benefits, such as pocket money, a living allowance and social insurance coverage. The National Youth Service is the coordinating body for voluntary services.

Currently, four different voluntary service programmes are offered by the National Youth Service:

  • Voluntary Counselling Service (VCS)

The Voluntary Counselling Service is aimed at residents aged between 16 and 30. Young people who have completed their compulsory schooling and who are motivated to engage in a project in the socio-cultural, socio-educational, cultural or environmental protection field will be eligible for this scheme. The voluntary service is a full-time activity and lasts a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months. The focus of the voluntary guidance service is on the acquisition of practical skills with an approved host organisation and personalised support in developing an educational and/or vocational integration project.

  • European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service allows young people to live an exceptional experience during 2 to 12 months by engaging in a project of public utility abroad, on the one hand, and helps organisations and communities to integrate new ideas and intercultural elements in their activities, on the other hand. And finally, the Voluntary Service helps to build new partnerships at European level.

  • Voluntary Service for Cooperation (VSC)

The Voluntary Service for Cooperation offers a suitable framework for young people who want to invest their time and energy in the problems of developing countries... . It is a tool for raising awareness of the problems of developing countries, a learning opportunity for the volunteer and a tool for promoting intercultural dialogue.

It is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who wish to commit themselves for a period of 3 to 12 months to a development cooperation project. Although no professional experience or specific skills are required, it is preferable that the young person is already in contact with a non-governmental organisation working in the field of cooperation before applying to the SNJ.

This programme is carried out in consultation with the Ministry of Cooperation and the organisation "Cercle des ONG". This organisation can help candidates to find a suitable sending organisation.

  • Civic volunteer service (CVSi)

The civic volunteer service offers a concrete opportunity for young residents to engage in civic activities. Its objective is to promote voluntary work among young people by giving them the opportunity to invest in a nationally determined project for a fixed period of time in order to mobilise them for a more permanent commitment.