Voluntary unpaid work

Any work will result in the deduction of benefits – whether or not you are paid. However, some types of voluntary work do not entail benefit deductions.

In general, all work results in benefit deductions – whether it is paid or not, and whether it is carried out during ordinary working hours or on public holidays.

However, no deduction is made if the activity or the voluntary unpaid work: 

  • takes place in Denmark
  • is not associated with a private business
  • is not subject to employment law 
  • is carried out for a non-profit voluntary organization or association

Please contact us if you live in one of the 9 ‘free’ municipalities (Fredensborg, Fredericia, Gentofte, Gladsaxe, Odense, Odsherred, Vejle, Vesthimmerland or Viborg), as special rules apply for voluntary and unpaid work there.

Voluntary activities - no limitations

Activities in voluntary associations or organizations do not lead to benefit deduction if they are not offered as ordinary work and no special training is required. They are typically leisure-type activities motivated by general interest, such as: 

  • Various functions in social cafés, community centres, workshops and similar – for example preparing coffee or tea, assisting with cooking, talking with visitors etc
  • Participation in ordinary association work – for example, in religious, cultural or tenants’ associations, and in scouting clubs, bridge clubs or other hobby associations
  • Sports activities, including coaching in associations where coaches are not ordinarily paid for their work
  • Voluntary visiting, including shopping help and neighbour help
  • Fundraising for relief organizations or sales assistance in second-hand shops, such as the Danish Red Cross or other humanitarian organizations

Voluntary unpaid work - up to 44 hours per month 

There is no deduction in benefits for unpaid work in voluntary organizations up to the limit of 44 hours per month (early retirees may work as unpaid volunteers for up to 65 hours per month without deduction). This applies to work that can also be offered as paid work or that requires special training or education, such as:

  • Face-to-face and telephone counselling on social conditions and rights, or financial issues requiring special qualifications 
  • Working a priest or psychologist in refuge houses, social or humanitarian institutions, organizations or associations for vulnerable groups, etc.
  • Legal aid or counselling by a trained lawyer

Voluntary unpaid work relating to primary operations or maintenance – deductions

Voluntary work aimed at the primary operation and maintenance of an organization or association generally results in benefits deduction from the first hour. This applies to:

  • Primary operations, such as staff administration, finances and management. This also includes work or other tasks that a public authority is obliged to perform, such as food delivery to senior citizens
  • Maintenance work requiring a license, within such areas as for instance plumbing, heating and electrical work, etc. Daily cleaning, decoration and similar functions are also included

Primary operational tasks exempt from deduction

You can claim benefits without deduction while handling primary operational tasks. This is on the condition that the organization has traditionally used unpaid labour for such tasks, and that the work is performed by unpaid labour in similar organizations, associations, etc.

This may concern administrative tasks (such as filing and reception work) and minor co-ordination tasks (e.g., tasks relating to petitions and fundraising, dissemination of voluntary work and duty rosters) or book-keeping and accounting in small associations, clubs, etc.

Maintenance tasks exempt from deduction

No deductions will be made for maintenance tasks if the unpaid work:

  • is comparable to ordinary maintenance and repair of one's own home
  • is carried out occasionally
  • has traditionally been carried out by unpaid labour in the organization, association, etc.
  • is carried out by unpaid labour in similar organizations, associations, etc.
  • does not require a license

Non-deductible maintenance work may include occasional and spring cleaning, the painting and decoration of clubhouses, etc., chalking playing fields, winter preparation of sea scout boats and similar.

Please contact CA for any questions concerning tasks that could lead to deduction in benefits.

Relevant form

You'll need this form if you are applying to have your voluntary unpaid work approved:

Please note: The form is in Danish.