Voluntary Environmental Protection Year

The Voluntary Environmental Protection Year combines educational and vocational orientation elements. It is also an important form of social commitment and serves the common good as well as the participant’s own personal development.

The aims of the Voluntary Environmental Protection Year, which cannot be completed within the framework of an employment relationship, are in particular

  • deepening of previous school education;
  • becoming familiar with the work at the placement location;
  • personal development;
  • broadening and applying knowledge in order to acquire skills for occupational fields relating to environmental, nature and climate protection;
  • vocational orientation;
  • strengthening skills in the area of environmental, nature and climate protection; and
  • promoting the participants’ commitment to environmental protection.

Possible placement locations are public interest-orientated not-for-profit institutions from one of the following areas:

  • general environmental protection;
  • environmental education;
  • nature and species protection;
  • organic farming with public-interest objectives such as cultural and landscape protection and biodiversity conservation;
  • animal welfare;
  • sustainable development; and
  • raising awareness in development cooperation.

The framework conditions essentially correspond to those of the Voluntary Social Year.

Minimum age

As a general rule, it is possible to complete a Voluntary Environmental Protection Year programme from the age of 17, and in exceptional cases even before in the case of special suitability.


The Voluntary Environmental Protection Year may only be completed once. The duration is limited to a maximum of twelve months.

Pocket money and climate ticket

The institution is responsible for paying pocket money to the participants. This will amount to 75 to 100 percent of the marginal earnings threshold (Geringfügigkeitsgrenze). In addition participants are entitled to reimbursement of travel costs from the federal government, which can be compensated in particular by the provision of the climate ticket (Klimaticket).

Family allowance

Under the Familienlastenausgleichsgesetz, family allowances for children of full age are generally only granted if they are in vocational education or training. There are specific arrangements for the Voluntary Environmental Protection Year, which allow family allowances to be granted until the person concerned reaches the age of 24.

Sickness, accident and pension insurance

Under the Allgemeines Sozialversicherungsgesetz (ASVG), participants in the Voluntary Environmental Protection Year programme are insured under the sickness, accident and pension insurance schemes.

Counting towards civilian service

Under the Voluntary Work Act, participation in a Voluntary Environmental Protection Year for an uninterrupted ten-month period can count towards a person's regular civilian service.


In principle, citizens from other EU Member States also have the opportunity to participate in a Voluntary Environmental Protection Year. More detailed information about this can be obtained directly from the Institutions of the Young Persons Environment Platform (→ JUMP)German text:
Claudia Kinzl-Ogris, telephone: +43 1 313 04 2012 or e-mail: fuj@jugendumwelt.at.

Further links

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 2 October 2023
Responsible for the content:
  • Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
  • Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection