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Working as a volunteer

As a volunteer you can help make society stronger while gaining experience and learning new things.
Whatever your stage of life – student, retiree, homemaker, jobseeker or employee – voluntary work is a great way to learn new things, gain experience and feel fulfilled by helping others. And it doesn’t have to take up all your time.

What constitutes voluntary work?

There are a huge number of possibilities when it comes to voluntary work, including social projects, public services, sports clubs, cultural centres, schools. One thing you have to remember is that the organisation must not be a commercial enterprise. You cannot do voluntary work for a private individual or a business.

To inform and protect all parties, the organisation in question must provide sufficient information on its goals, policies and rules. It must have proper insurance for volunteers and inform you of any possibilities to reclaim expenses. The organisation may agree to pay your fixed or actual expenses. If you exceed the maximum allowance for voluntary work you will have to pay tax on what you receive.

Information, assistance and openings

Several coordination bodies are active in the voluntary sector, bringing volunteers and organisations into contact. They also offer assistance and training on voluntary activities and regulations to both parties.

For French speakers

Association pour le volontariat
Rue Royale 11, 1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 (0)2 219 53 70
Online: www.volontariat.be (FR)

For Dutch speakers

Voluntary work and allowances

If you receive an allowance, as a jobseeker, early retiree or as someone entitled to time credit for instance, you must have permission from the ONEM (National Employment Office) before taking a volunteer job. You need to fill out a C45B form, which is available from the ONEM or your payment body (or download forms and certificates from www.onem.be (FR/NL). You must also notify the person handling your application if you receive a CPAS integration income. You can lose your allowance if you do voluntary work without permission.

Voluntary work abroad

You can also do voluntary work abroad. Young people aged up to 30 years old can participate in the European Voluntary Project. If you are interested, contact Bureau International Jeunesse (FR) or Jint (NL). Other specialist websites can also help you with your plans.

  • Bureau International Jeunesse (BIJ)
    Rue du Commerce 18, 1000 Brussels
    Phone: +32 (0)2 548 38 88
    Email: veronique.balthasart@cfwb.be
    Online: www.lebij.be (FR)
  • Jint, the coordination body for young people looking for work abroad
    Rue Grétry 26, 1000 Brussels
    Phone: +32 (0)2 209 07 20
    Email: jint@jint.be
    Online: www.jint.be (NL)
  • Idéaliste: non-profit sector jobs and work
    Online: www.idealist.org (FR)

In some circumstances, young jobseekers (junior programme) and the over 50s can do voluntary work within the framework of Belgian development cooperation without running the risk of losing any allowances or social rights. For more details, see the Belgian Development Agency’s website.