What is it and who is it for?
Associations can pay their volunteers a reimbursement of expenses.
The volunteer’s allowance cannot be used by organisations that focus on making a profit (e.g. companies or self-employed people), only by non-profit organisations, de facto associations and the like.
Everyone aged 15 that has successfully terminated the first two years of secondary school, can volunteer. Otherwise they have to wait until they are aged 16. Belgians and Europeans, people with a valid residence permit and certain asylum seekers can volunteer.
Payment, limits and maximums
The volunteer’s allowance is a flat-rate compensation for the expenses you incur as a volunteer. Volunteer’s allowances are never a reward or payment for work done, and are not intended as an hourly wage.
You can also pay out or receive a limited sum or an amount per kilometre to cover travel costs.
Maximums for the flat-rate volunteer’s allowance in 2021:
- maximum of 36,11 euros per volunteer per day,
- maximum 1.444,52 euros per volunteer per calendar year
+ travel allowance (costs of public transport or travel by bicycle or car):
- maximum 2000 km per year
- maximum 741.40 euros per year
- maximum 0,3707 euros per kilometre (car) (amount applies until 30 June 2022)
- maximum of 0.24 euros per kilometre (bicycle)
For volunteers in the sports sector, there is a higher yearly maximum. Sports trainers and sports teachers are allowed to receive 2.600,90 euros volunteer’s allowance in 2021. This is only allowed under strict conditions. Read more.
Paperwork and obligations
These amounts are adjusted annually. Keep an eye on Danspunt’s information channels – we will be sure to let you know when the amounts change.
The organisation needs to inform the volunteer of certain things in advance:
- What is the purpose of the organisation?
- Is the organisation a non-profit or a de-facto association?
- What insurance does the volunteer have?
- What expenses are refunded to the volunteer?
- Are there any more rules that the volunteer needs to observe (such as confidentiality)?
- What happens to the volunteer’s personal data (GDPR)?
You can inform the volunteer in an information note or information brochure. You can also sign a volunteer contract with people who do voluntary work. This can include all the information above. Take a look at this sample document.
Organisations need to keep track of which volunteers work for them, on what dates, for what task and in return for what payment. This information can be requested during an inspection. Volunteers should keep careful track of the volunteer’s allowances they have received as well.
It is best to draw up an expense sheet before the volunteer’s allowance is paid out. Your organisation can include it in their bookkeeping as documentation.
TIP! Danspunt advises organisers to ask volunteers for a guarantee in their volunteer contract that the volunteer will not exceed the annual amount if they also receive volunteer’s allowances from other organisations.
Organisations are obliged to have third-party insurance for their volunteers. This insurance will cover any damage that the volunteer may cause while carrying out their tasks.
Clearly other forms of insurance are also allowed. We advise organisers to take out accident insurance for their volunteers.
Associations can get these types of insurance very cheaply through Danspunt.
Combinations with other payments and statuses?
You are not allowed to combine a volunteer’s allowance with payments for work done (e.g. an employment contract, small fee for artists or a contract through an employment agency) with regard to the same task done for the same organiser. In other words, you cannot use the volunteer’s allowance system to work until the annual maximum is reached and then switch to another system.
If you receive unemployment benefits, you need to ask the social security office first whether you are allowed to do voluntary work. Do this using form ‘C45B’: it is best to submit it before you start your voluntary work.
Taxes and social security
A volunteer’s allowance is a reimbursement of expenses, not payment for work done. That means that no social security contributions are payable on volunteers’ allowances. It also means that volunteers do not accrue any social security rights (to a pension, unemployment benefits etc.).
Neither do you pay any taxes on volunteers’ allowances. Because this income is tax-free, volunteers do not receive a tax slip documenting their allowance and they do not need to include the allowance in their tax return.
Note, however, that if you exceed the maximum amounts in the regulations, both the volunteer and the organisation are at risk of fines and retrospective demands for social security contributions.
Do you need more information or advice?
- Read up on the regulations at the Vlaams Steunpunt voor Vrijwilligerswerk (Flemish Support Point for Voluntary Work)
- Contact Danspunt