4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector
At the federal level, the "Maribel" social fund has been created to sustain job creation in the cultural sector. On 1 July 2003, the social statute for artists (see chapter 5.1.4) brought deductions in costs for employers.
On 1 July 2004, the "small fees scheme" came into effect. Under this scheme, artists can receive a small fee that is exempt from social security contributions. Since 1 January 2007, the "small fees scheme" is tax free.
In the very broad sense of the word, the number of persons employed in the cultural sector was almost 136 000 in 2007 in the Flemish Region. In Brussels there are more than 9 000 employees. There has been an increase in these numbers in the Flemish region since the last measurement point in late 2006. In Brussels, following a strong expansion in 2006, numbers indicate a sharp decline in employment in the cultural sector.
Approximately 75% of employment can be ascribed to the private sector. For many years, the cultural sector has made intensive use of special forms of employment organised by the government to combat unemployment.
A fund for socio-economic security was set up in the performing arts sector in 2001 ("Sociaal Fonds voor de Podiumkunsten"). A collective labour agreement was concluded with regard to high-risk groups. The general social security contribution of 0.1%, collected from the total payroll, flows back to sector specific initiatives in the framework of employment and education, such as initiatives for the transition of the careers of dancers and the employability of freelance actors. This fund is also responsible for the execution of a covenant between the social partners (employers' federations and unions) and the Flemish government concerning lifelong learning and development of diversity.
"Kunstenloket" was created in 2004, in order to inform and advise on legal and administrative aspects of artistic activity; to follow up the implementation of the new social status of the artist initiatives; to collect and analyse data on employment; and to organise training. Kunstenloket was recently an active partner in the "Practics" mobility pilot project of the European Parliament (2008-2011).
Since 1974, cultural employment has been developed and subsidised mainly in the sectors of cultural centres, youth, continuing education, libraries, theatre, and the major cultural institutions.
Various plans for the absorption of unemployment conducted in the context of overall employment policies have enabled genuine investment in employment in the various cultural sectors.
This contribution has enabled employment to be strongly developed in the cultural sector.
Nevertheless, this has not necessarily developed employment quality and qualification, access rationale for such jobs being oriented to essentially social criteria.
New forms of co-operation between cultural policies (community-based) and employment policies (federal and regional) are being sought in order to develop cultural employment in a more structured manner.
A register of cultural employment is under development. This cadastre will reveal the number of workers and jobs in the socio-cultural world, as well as the profiles of the functions, the qualifications and statutes.
Subsidies for the financing of staff of cultural organisations, museums and creative studios as well as organisations of youth and adult education are regulated by decree or by agreement.
Since the Walloon Region transferred exercise of the responsibilities in the area of employment to the German-speaking Community in 2000, the regulation of job-creation measures by the government and institution of a Labour Office for the German-speaking Community have been the most important instruments of employment policy.
Job-creation measures are aimed at enabling the long-term unemployed and recipients of welfare to gain regular employment. By means of grants for the salary costs of associations and authorities that take on additional staff in the context of projects of global community interest, the German-speaking Community provides a targeted contribution towards increasing the volume of employment.