The New Law of Volunteering
Law no. 78/2014 on the regulation of volunteering in Romania entered into force on July 26th 2014, when the previous rules in this area, namely Law no. 195/2001, were expressly repealed.
The new law aims at aligning Romania with the European standards in this area, in the context of the very low degree of involvement of the local population in volunteering projects as revealed by statistical data. A number of essential changes of interest to organizations and volunteers have been implemented for this purpose.
One of the most important changes is the recognition of volunteering as work and/or professional experience, provided it is carried out in the volunteer’s area of study. It seeks to motivate young people to carry out such activities during their studies, considering that volunteering work will later be a real advantage in the job market.
On the other hand, it is important to note that volunteering as work experience is not equivalent to seniority and it is not included in the social security or pension system. Therefore, if volunteers are not students or employees, they shall be required to pay their own health insurance.
Another novelty is the introduction of the obligation to conclude a written volunteer agreement in Romanian language between the organisation and the volunteer.
By comparison, the previous law gave the parties the possibility to decide whether to conclude a volunteer agreement or not, depending on the nature of the volunteering work.
In order to co-opt volunteers the organizations will publish requests expressing their availability in this regard and will have the right to reject the offers from applicants according to their own statutory provisions, but in compliance with the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment (namely without discrimination). In addition to the volunteer certificate, the content of which is now more strictly regulated, upon completing the activity the organization shall provide the volunteer with a report specifying the activities carried out, the tasks undertaken and the skills acquired by the volunteer.
The novelties of interest also include the possibility to organize volunteering activities outside Romania, the joint and several liability of the organization together with the volunteer for damages caused to third parties, the decrease of the time limit for unilateral termination of the volunteer agreement from 30 days to 15 days, the exemption of the organization from the obligation to conclude an accident and sickness insurance contract, the regulation of the cases of termination of volunteer agreements, etc.