Volunteering in Poland

Young people who are ready to acquire some professional experience often begin their careers through volunteering, i.e. voluntary unpaid work. Polish law regulates the terms of providing services by volunteers. They are specified in the Act of 24 April 2003 on public benefit and volunteer work.
Pursuant to the Act (Article 42 sec. 1), volunteers can perform work in favour of:

Entity type

Scope of services performed on voluntary basis

  • non-governmental organisations
  • legal persons and organisational entities operating on the basis of regulations on the relationship between the State and the Roman Catholic Church in the Republic of Poland, on the relationship between the State and other religions and denominations and on the guaranteed freedom of conscience and religion, provided that their statutory goals include pursuing public benefit activity,
  • associations of territorial self-government entities,
  • social cooperatives,
  • joint stock companies, limited liability companies and sports clubs operating as companies under the provisions of the Act of 25 June 2010 on sports which are not profit-oriented, allocate all their revenue to the pursuit of their statutory goals and do not allocate their profits to be distributed among their shareholders, stockholders and employees.

In the field of their statutory operation, including in particular in the field of public benefit activity, with the exception of business activity they pursue.

  • public administration authorities

with the exception of business activity they pursue.

  • organisational units subordinate to or supervised by public administration authorities

with the exception of business activity they pursue.

  • healthcare entities in the meaning of the Act on medical activity

in the scope of medical activity they pursue.

It is also possible to volunteer for international organisations in Poland.

A volunteer should possess qualifications and meet the requirements corresponding to the type and scope of services rendered, although in practice volunteering begins with tasks a given volunteer is able to discharge; they are later adapted appropriately to the experience gained in the further course of cooperation.

From the legal perspective, it is important to bear in mind that volunteering is not equivalent to employment relationship; as a result, persons which already have or are planning to obtain the unemployed status can also be volunteers.

The scope of cooperation, mode of operation and the term of providing voluntary services by the volunteer should be determined in the agreement concluded with the institution benefiting from volunteering (it is necessary in case of activities whose duration exceeds 30 days). The institution using volunteers may also cover the costs connected with a volunteer’s activity (such as trainings, business trips or allowances).

A volunteer is not paid for services rendered. If the organisation decides to offer a volunteer a payment for rendering such services after the period of cooperation, an appropriate contract must be concluded.

Template of contract on volunteering-based cooperation

Volunteering offers in Poland

Nationwide network of volunteering centres


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