When it comes to volunteering, the most important thing that happened in 2019 is the new Draft Law on Volunteering. After the procedure of public debate has been conducted, the Government passed the proposal of the new law in November and now it entered parliamentary procedure. The Law introduces new definition of volunteering, ways of keeping records on volunteers, and it does not obligate organizers of volunteering actions to sign contract with a volunteer if the volunteering is less than 10 hours per week, which is one of the changes the most advocated by CSOs. According to information obtained from the Ministry of Public administration, the new law is in accordance with strategic documents and it will establish volunteerism as civic activism instead of working relationship. Adoption of this law is in accordance with the Strategy on improving enabling environment for the work of CSOs in Montenegro 2018-2020.
Until the new law is adopted and comes to force, this area is still regulated by the Law on Voluntary work. This law defines voluntary work as unpaid and done in freewill. It requires that volunteers and organizers of voluntary work must sign a contract The law also states that volunteers have volunteer booklets which are issued by local administration, which is not used in practice as local self-governments do not issue these booklets.
The Law prohibits volunteering to children under 15 years of age, even in cases when activities are organized by educational institutions or are in the function of education of those children. In that way, the Law is preventing the development of culture of volunteerism exactly in that age group that would be a natural target group for the development of culture of volunteerism. It should be noted that these provisions of the Law are in conflict with the practice of the Bureau for Education Services, that has optional and compulsory curricula materials for elementary and high school education, titled “Volunteer and humanitarian work”, which includes practical volunteering.
Volunteer work can take up to six hours a day and no more than 25 hours a week. If the contract on volunteer work is concluded in the case of vocational training, the volunteer work can last no longer than 40 hours per week. The agreement on volunteer work is concluded in writing between the volunteer and the volunteer organizer. The organizer of volunteer work is obliged to register the volunteer for insurance in case of injury or occupational disease during the volunteer work. However, even though the law stipulates these provisions, such cases are not very common in practice.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
There are no incentives for volunteers, but some are planned when the Law on Volunteerism is adopted. Interviewed representatives of youth/volunteer organizations all agree that there are no programs and incentives for volunteers on national level. There are some on international level, but those are not available to all volunteers.
Based on the questionnaire answers, 66.7% of the organizations included volunteers in their work. Out of these organizations, several received certain requests regarding volunteers. Namely, 9.37% had to register their volunteers to the authority while 6.25% believe administrative procedure for volunteers is complicated. Others did not encounter any problems. None of the organizations reported sanctions for not registering volunteers or for organizing spontaneous volunteering.