When to Work for Pay, When Not to

A Comparative Study of Australian and Danish Volunteer Care Workers

Charlotte Overgaard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the links between volunteers care workers’ current unpaid work and their own present or former paid work with the objective of analysing the ways welfare states influence volunteer care work. Data were collected between August 2012 and May 2013 through 41 face-to-face interviews with Danish and Australian volunteers working with the frail elderly, very sick and terminally ill. Three related arguments are made. One, paid and unpaid care work are so intertwined that it is not possible to understand volunteers’ unpaid working lives without simultaneously understanding their paid work lives. Two, many volunteer care workers are attracted to care work, not volunteering per se. Three, volunteering must be understood in relation to men’s and women’s ‘access to work’ in the welfare state, access that ultimately depends on the design and developments of these two contrasting welfare states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-830
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Access to work
  • Care work
  • Country comparative research
  • Gender
  • Volunteering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'When to Work for Pay, When Not to: A Comparative Study of Australian and Danish Volunteer Care Workers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this