In the field of the performing arts, there is a specific labour law, the Actors’ Law (Schauspielergesetz, 1922, amended 2011) regulating the working hours, holiday rights and bonuses for actors, which are different from the employee regulations. Formerly, actors were assumed to be employees, but full employment with all the costs and obligations for employers (e.g. festival-organisers) is now often circumvented. New legal conditions to improve their situation have been created for actors in 2011: the Theatre Employment Act (Bü-ARG) since then covers all workers in a theatre company together and envisages adaptation to the Holiday and Working Hours Law. It has been criticised that the law only brings meaningful improvements for actors who are directly employed in the major theatres. As before, for short-term, changeable employment between direct employment and self-employment with intervals of unemployment or without income in the freelance theatre field, no legal security is present. The fact that the new Law does not include film actors is also criticised, as it does not correspond to actors’ professional reality.
The same rules generally apply for employed artists of other disciplines as for employees of other professions. In many cases, artists are working as freelancers, under the scope of work contracts (Werkvertrag) or as quasi free-lancer (freier Dienstnehmer, see 4.1.3).