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Germany/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.6 Labour laws

With the exception of the Artists' Social Insurance Act (see chapter 5.1.4), there are no special laws regarding the terms of employment for artists and other cultural workers. The general labour legislation is applied. If artists or cultural workers are employed in municipal, federal state (Länder) or federal facilities, then the public service regulations are applied. On the basis of the general Wage Agreement Law (TVG), special contracts and wage agreements for the cultural sector, including non-artistic staff, were concluded by unions and employers organisations for single artistic sectors and cultural facilities such as theatres, orchestras and music schools. The conditions of work for main occupational groups such as singers, actors, orchestra musicians etc., are laid down in these agreements. In addition, special courts of arbitration have been set up to settle employment disputes in theatres (Bühnenschiedsgericht).

The right of employees to participate in decision making processes is guaranteed through the General Worker Co-determination Laws (Mitbestimmungsrecht) and similar regulations for public service staff. However, these rights are somewhat restricted in companies such as e.g. theatres, museums or libraries as well as newspapers abd broadcasters with regard to management decisions of artistic or scientific relevance (the so-called Tendenz­schutz).

Of relevance for independent artists and journalists is a regulation from the 1970s in the Wage Agreement Law (§ 12a TVG) which was revised in October 2005. Under the law, freelancers who work predominantly for one company can enjoy an "employee-like" status which allows their professional organisations to conclude wage or fee agreements with their contractors.

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

Chapter published: 31-08-2016

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