Legislation is not in line with standards when it comes to stimulating volunteering and incorporating best regulatory practices, while at the same time allowing for spontaneous volunteering practices. The Law on Volunteering contains the necessary minimum provisions for the protection of volunteers and their organizations and leaves other issues for the parties to define. The law does not prevent spontaneous volunteering, but does not explicitly provide for spontaneous volunteer practice. Article 3 of the Law on Volunteering provides, inter alia, that definition of volunteering does not consider the performance of services or activities that are common in family, friendship or neighborhood relations.
Similarly, disabling environment has been identified regarding incentives and state supported programs for the development and promotion of volunteering. There are no strategic state polices or other documents aimed on promotion of volunteerism, support or training for volunteers. The Law on volunteering provide the right to reimbursement of contracted expenses in connection with volunteering, payment of pocket money in the case of long-term volunteering, insurance in case of injury and professional volunteering in the case of long-term volunteering or if so stipulated by the contract, as well as the right to receive a certificate of volunteering are envisaged.
However, there are clearly defined contractual relationships and protections covering organized volunteering which is in line with standards. The law is detailed when it comes to regulating the relationship between volunteers and volunteer organizers. It also addresses in detail the issue of their rights and responsibilities. Long-term volunteering has been defined which envisages performing volunteer work longer than 10 hours per week, for at least three months without interruption.
When it comes to incentives and programs used by CSOs and the implementation, monitoring and evaluation policies of strategic document or law, practice indicates partially enabling environment. MLEVSP is responsible for implementation of policy/strategic document/ law for volunteering. However, periodic monitoring and evaluation is missing.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
Also, MYS supports volunteering programs implemented by CSOs. One public call for support of implementation of youth volunteer projects and the organization of international volunteer camps was announced in 2019. However, answering to FoI request it was stated that Ministry doesn’t have information on incentives for volunteers and hosting organizations.
In January 2019 MCI and Belgrade University signed memorandum on cooperation opening the possibility for students to volunteer within the Ministry. Similar practices already exist among other ministries, but in this way volunteering engagement should be valued in case of job application and/or participation in Ministry’s activities. 2 CSOs participating in MM Survey reported they benefited from state programs for volunteering in the past year.
Interviewed CSOs agree that the application procedure for state programs for volunteering is easy and procedure for provision of incentives for volunteers and hosting organizations is transparent; both are very precisely described in calls for support this type of activity. They pointed out their respective and experience in this area. According to ACT Study on CSOs only 4% of the CSOs used subsidies in engaging volunteers or employees (2% each).
Administrative procedures for organizers of volunteer activities or volunteers are partially complicated and with certain unnecessary costs. 13 CSOs who participated in MM Survey agree that the administrative procedure for involving volunteers is easy vs. 14 CSOs which do not agree. 8 CSOs who participated in MM Survey reported they had to register volunteers to the state. There is law requirement for volunteering organizers to register long-term and short-term volunteering (including description of the volunteering programs, number of volunteers engaged in the volunteering program, information about the beneficiaries)
Respondents who participated in focus groups (within ACT Study) stressed there is insufficient volunteering of the elderly, while young people most often volunteer in educational, humanitarian and street actions. To resolve problems with volunteer recruitment, good practice examples were mentioned – volunteering by providing small grants to cover the costs of an action, for example a performance for young people (similar to “Mladi su zakon” (“Young People Rule”) or Active Communities of the TRAG Foundation).
Volunteering can take place in any form in Serbia and there are no cases of complaints of restrictions on volunteering in practice which is in line with standards. None of interviewed/surveyed CSOs reported cases of sanctions or restrictions in case when volunteers were engaged without contracts/ registration or state approval. None of interviewed/surveyed CSOs reported that there are sanctions for spontaneous volunteering (e.g. volunteering without state approval).