Social security rights enjoyed by those working in the performing arts and film industry are under threat, their special social security agency (ENPALS) having been incorporated in the overall national social security agency.
5.1.4 Social security frameworks
Artists and others employed in the cultural sector, like any other Italian citizen, are just covered by the basic health insurance provided for by the National Health System.
The only exception to this rule, since fascist time, are the performing artists, as well as those employed in theatres and in the audio-visual industry (radio, television, cinema, sound recording). They enjoy more favourable social security coverage through ENPALS / Ente Nazionale Previdenza e Assistenza Lavoratori dello Spettacolo, created in 1934, which is able to cater for the often intermittent working situation of this special category of employed. In recent years, though, a strong boost towards harmonisation of all the country's social frameworks has weakened this category's once privileged situation. An agreement was signed in 2010 by Enpals and SIAE (the copyright association), in order to control and contain the frequent evasion of social security contributions.
On the other hand, unlike performing artists, visual artists and writers have always enjoyed a purely "virtual" social insurance framework, as ENAPS (Ente Nazionale Artisti, Pittori e Scultori) – the ad hoc public institute – has traditionally been too underfinanced to provide any kind of social protection, and has limited its activity to the organisation of occasional prizes or artistic and literary events. In this respect, there are, presently, some prospects of change: with the intention of rationalising public expenditure through the suppression of public institutes, ENAPS has been, in fact, incorporated in ENPALS by Leg. Decree 78/2010.
While the process of incorporation is still underway, an additional rationalisation was brought about by Law n. 214/2011, having further ruled to suppress ENPALS by merging it – to make budget saving – with INPS / Istituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale, Italy's general social security organisation. There are prospects that this move could end up with the total elimination of the most favourable social security requirements once established for protecting a more fragile category of workers, like those employed in a labour market characterised by high intermittence like the performing arts.
See also comparative information provided in the Compendium "Themes!" section under "Status of Artists".