For employees

Volunteering and community activities

Most people outside of work engage in other activities that help them feel fulfilled and improve their overall quality of life. Some people are interested in sports or art, while others spend their free time volunteering and engaging in community activities, often associated with a strong sense of public spirit. Even though it is possible to volunteer individually, volunteering typically brings together communities focused on solving a specific problem.

According to the expected result, there are two main types of volunteering: volunteering focused on others, and self-focused volunteering. Volunteering focused on others may include providing aid to the sick, helping people going through an emotional crisis via the designated hotlines, and caring for solitary seniors or deprived persons. Self-focused volunteering is volunteering that brings personal benefits to the volunteer himself. This can be volunteering in organizations closely related to the volunteer’s professional activities to gain experience and new skills.

The most commonly highlighted benefit of volunteering is acquisition of experience that may be needed when looking for a job. Studies have shown that volunteering focused on others helps the volunteer feel needed as well as improves his overall satisfaction with life and self-confidence, thus making the volunteer stronger and healthier[1].

Balancing work and volunteering

Volunteering can be the equivalent of a second job, requiring good time management skills. To balance work and volunteering activities, you can use various work planning methods and work-life balance measures provided for in the Labour Code:

  1. Unpaid time off during the workday. At the request of the employee and with the consent of the employer, unpaid days off may be provided to the employee for personal reasons during his/her working day. In this case, missed working hours shall be transferred to other working days. It is important to note that the use of unpaid time off to meet one’s personal needs must not violate the requirements of maximum working time and minimum rest time – with certain exceptions. You should not work more than 48 hours per week, you should have at least 11 hours of rest between your working days (shifts), and you should be given 35 hours of uninterrupted rest per week.
  2. Flexible work schedule. A flexible work schedule is a working time regime set by the employer, when the employee must be present at his or her workplace during specific fixed hours of the working day (shift), and may organise the rest of his or her working time by working before or after the fixed hours. Working under a flexible work schedule can help you balance your work and regular volunteering activities. For example, if you are volunteering early in the morning, you could ask your employer to enable you to start your workday at 9:30 am or 10:00 am. If the specifics of your job position allow this, the employer should satisfy your request to work under a flexible work schedule.
  3. Individual work schedule. Where the application of a flexible work schedule simply changes the start and end times of work, an individual work schedule allows employees to organize their work depending on the workload and personal life needs. For example, you can transfer your working hours which you normally work on Fridays to other days of the week, in order to be off work during Fridays for your community activities.
  4. Temporary remote work. If you are not required to be at your workplace for the entire day in order to do your job, you may request your employer to enable you to temporarily work remotely.

[1] Yeung, J. W. K, Zhang, Z., Kim, T. Y. (2017) Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. BMC Public Health, 17:736.