Neustrelitz / Berlin (dpa / tmn) – Regardless of whether you are a junior coach, senior citizen or volunteer fire brigade – there are many honorary positions. According to the federal government, almost 29 million people in Germany volunteer for others in their free time.
It’s not always about devoting all of your free time to volunteering. “In general, there is a trend towards volunteering that takes around two to three hours a week,” says Jan Holze, director of the German Foundation for Commitment and Volunteering in Neustrelitz.
What can generally be observed: The filling of honorary posts that are time-consuming – such as the board of directors, treasurer, referee or referee – is not infrequently difficult, according to Holze: “There is a problem.” To change that, the German Foundation for Commitment and Volunteering has announced a competition. Important questions and answers:
Where can I get information?
Anyone who would like to get involved but do not know which volunteering is an option can get advice. The point of contact can be a volunteer agency, which is available in many municipalities. Interested parties also have the opportunity to find out about possible engagements digitally. An overview of networks and volunteer agencies, for example, is offered by the Academy for Voluntary Work in Germany. “However, direct contact on site is usually the most effective way of achieving the goal,” says Holze.
Do I have to take out insurance?
No matter what kind of volunteer work you do: something can always happen. “It is therefore imperative to find out whether and to what extent insurance cover exists before starting work,” says Holze. Often there is free insurance coverage for volunteers through the statutory accident insurance.
Most federal states have taken out additional collective insurance in the area of accident and liability. The statutory accident insurance pays if there is an accident and therefore medical treatment and rehabilitation are pending. In the event of permanent damage to health, there is a pension through the policy.
The question of liability must also be clarified. Often there is a so-called club liability insurance. “You should definitely find out whether it exists before starting work,” says Holze. And private liability protection should also be available to be on the safe side.
Do you get money for what you do?
There is no regular remuneration for volunteering. Often, however, the volunteers receive a lump-sum allowance in the form of a volunteer fee or a lump sum for trainers. They are tax-free up to a certain amount. “The limit for the instructor’s flat rate is 3000 euros from 2021, for 2020 it is 2400 euros,” says Jana Bauer from the Federal Association of Wage Tax Assistance Associations (BVL).
Those who work in a tax-privileged organization and whose voluntary work has a pedagogical focus, such as educators or trainers, receive a flat rate for trainers. For all other activities there is usually a so-called volunteer allowance.
What are the limits?
“The remuneration is tax-free as long as the amount does not exceed EUR 840 in 2021 and EUR 720 in 2020,” explains Jana Bauer. However, the income from voluntary work must always be reported in the tax return.
The general rule is: women and men can only make use of the tax exemptions if they are volunteering as a part-time job. Pensioners, students and housewives can also do voluntary work without full-time employment.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210928-99-397159 / 2