In Georgia, there is no definite legislation to regulate social security provision for the cultural sector, although various kinds of security are provided under other legislation. In particular:
- Law of Georgia on State Pension (December 23, 2005. №2442-rs)
- Law of Georgia on Social Assistance (LHG, 51, 31/12/2006)
- Law of Georgia on State Compensation and State Academic Scholarships (December 27, 2005. №2549-rs) (applies to scientists and not artists).
State programmes for social and health care are administered by the LEPL Social Service Agency under the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. The function of the Agency is to provide maximum assistance to the contingent in need of various services or assistance, through social benefits as well as state health and social programmes. The Agency serves 2.5 million Georgian citizens (about 60 percent of the Georgian population).
Under the Law on Art Workers and Art Unions, Article 8, paragraph 2, social security and pension provision for artists shall be implemented under the relevant acts of legislation.
The Law on Social Security for Researchers / Scientists regulates the creation of safeguards and conditions for the work of scientists. While culture is not mentioned specifically in the legislation, it is applicable to some cultural workers.
General unemployment in Georgia is a major issue for the government to tackle and therefore the cultural sector has not yet been singled out for specific development.
According to the 2021 data of the National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat), the official employment rate in the population is 22%. Unofficially it reaches 50%. Presumably in the field of culture this number is much higher.
To alleviate the grave social situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the government, which did not have an unemployment benefit scheme before the crisis, has introduced two new temporary measures: unemployment benefits for previously officially employed and assistance for the self-employed.
1. Unemployment benefits for previously officially employed persons
Beneficiaries in this category were selected through the National Tax Registry, which contains data on the payment of income tax by all individuals.
The government estimates that about 350 000 people met the requirements for receiving this transfer, which is a very high figure in relation to the number of officially employed persons.
The transfer amount was 200 GEL (62 USD) per month/person and benefits were provided for 6 months. The total budget of the transfer is 460 million GEL (143 million USD).
Payment of benefits terminated as soon as the beneficiary got a new official job and was re-registered in the taxpayer register.
2. Assistance for the self-employed
Self-employment is very common in Georgia, accounting for 45% of all employment and 36% of non-agricultural employment. Under the resolution of the Government, assistance was provided to the self-employed in the form of a one-time payment of 300 GEL (93 USD).
The total budget for the transfer is estimated at 75 million GEL (23 million USD), providing assistance to 250 000 self-employed.
The selection of beneficiaries in this category is complicated because most of the self-employed are not registered in any public database. To solve this problem, the government decided that the self-employed should submit any proof of income.
These two categories of benefits cover part of the employment in the field of culture, but do not include those who do not have a stable and registered income.