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Estonia/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

An individual artist may work either as an employee, as a registered individual entrepreneur, or as a freelancer. The Act on Creative Artists and Creative Artists' Unions adopted in November, 2004, offers the latter two the right to tax deductions of documented expenses related to their creative activities. There are eight major creative artist unions (visual artists, writers, theatre workers, cinema workers, composers, architects, interior decorators, and performing musicians), which, apart from other activities, also function as labour unions. The new legislation (see also chapter 8.1.4) includes an outline of the role of the unions. On one hand, cultural workers are part of the general unemployment insurance scheme introduced in 2002, which – depending on the past insurance period – grants a payment of 40-50% of the previous average income (no higher than three times the national average wage) for a period of 6 to 12 months, provided that the employee has not left his or her previous employment voluntarily or due to his or her own misconduct. On the other hand, the Act on Creative Artists and Creative Artists' Unions introduces a scheme of monthly supports for creative work, which can be applied by freelance artists who lack other sources of income. The amount corresponds to the official minimum wage plus social and health insurance fees, and will be granted for a period of six months (since 2009, it can be extended for another six months). The support can only be granted once in any two years. The Creative Unions are responsible for the administration of the support schemes in their respective fields of culture.

See also comparative information provided in the Compendium "Themes!" section under "Status of Artists".

Chapter published: 13-10-2014

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