In Iceland volunteer work is only accepted in case of charities and cultural or humanitarian activities

It is a violation of Icelandic law and workers right to let volunteers replace employees in a regular job. In Iceland, volunteer work is only acceptable in case of charities and cultural or humanitarian activities. Employment contracts stipulating less favourable terms than those provided for in collective agreements are invalid. Please contact the unions for further information and assistance.

All jobs and industries in Iceland are covered by collective agreements.

Statement by the Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ) and Business Iceland, organization of Icelandic employers, (SA)

„The social partners (the labour market national confederations) have a shared responsibility for the development and the rights and obligations on the labour market. Their goal is to ensure a competitive labour market where employers associations and the labour unions negotiate for wages and other employment terms in collective agreements. It is the responsibility of the social partners to ensure that the rules applicable to the labour market are followed.

These parties share the task of ensuring that wages and employment terms of companies in production  and services are in accordance with Icelandic law and collective agreements.

If collective agreements are not respected, it undermines other companies in same sectors and disrupts the basis for fair competition and a healthy economy.

In view of this, ASÍ, SA and their member associations recognise the importance of a mutual understanding regarding the labour market and volunteer work.

It is worth emphasizing that it goes against collective agreements and general principles on the labour market, for volunteers to replace employees in economic activities of companies. For these jobs, the provisions of collective agreements apply, cf. Article 1 of Act No. 55/1980 on Working Terms. Employees have carried out this work and will not be replaced by volunteers. Contracts with individual employees stipulating less favorable terms than those provided for in the collective agreements are invalid.

There is nevertheless a long tradition for volunteer work and such work is important for charities and cultural or humanitarian efforts. This kind of volunteer work is not disputed, as it has a long history and has not been a matter of contention.„

The Federation of General and Special workers in Iceland (SGS) and The Farmers Association of Iceland  have  issued  same kind of statement.

More on:

Rights and employment terms of foreign workers on the Icelandic labour market - Excerpt from the collective wage agreements
Website in English and Polish about workers rights
Further information about trade unions and collective bargaining, employment contracts, wages and working time, holiday allowance and other related issues