In 2000, measures were taken to enable artists who receive unemployment benefits to practise their art more freely, which hitherto had been prohibited by law.
In December 2002, the federal parliament ratified measures to improve the social security system for artists. On 1 July 2003, this regulation came into effect. Some rules were changed in December 2013. The main points are:
- artists are treated either as employees or as self-employed for the purposes of social security. To stimulate salaried work for artists, which gives them more social protection than working self-employed, employers are given a discount on their share of social security contributions to compensate for these additional costs. Artists who cannot make an employment contract with a commissioner, can also work as an employee if they have an “artists visum”;
- payment of child and holiday allowances for artists, which are covered by employees’ regulation, are simplified since working in short contracts for different employers caused a lot of delays;
- those who infrequently hire artists (e.g. for an occasional show in a café or for an individual commission) can apply to the “Social Bureau for Artists” to take care of the employer’s share of administrative procedures. These bureaux are specialist interim offices that must be recognised by the regional authorities; and
- on 1 July 2004, the additional “small expense compensation system” came into effect. Under this scheme, artists can receive a fixed expense reimbursement that is exempt from social security contributions. Since 1 January 2007, the “small expense compensation system” is tax free. These exemptions are linked to certain conditions.