Artists and journalists / authors in the Federal Republic of Germany enjoy comprehensive social security coverage. When employed, they are covered under the general social security regimes. Self-employed artists and journalists / authors are obliged to join the Artists’ Social Insurance Fund (KSK). The special protection for self-employed artists and journalists / authors provided for under the Artists’ Social Insurance Act (KSVG) which came into force on August 2nd, 1983 encompasses statutory health, long-term or old age care and pension insurance. Like employees, the artists and journalists / authors must only pay half of the social insurance contribution.
The funds for the other fifty percent are provided by a federal subsidy (20%) and 30% are financed by the artists’ social security contribution. To that effect, the enterprises are charged with an artists’ social insurance levy (Künstlersozialabgabe) on all fees and royalties paid, whose level is subject to annual adjustments. For example, the levy reached 5.8% in 2005 and then decreased in the following years to 4.1 % in 2013. In 2018 this levy reached 4.2 %. Around 189,000 people are currently insured in the social insurance scheme for artists.
Through another amendment of the Artists’ Social Security Law that came into effect in June 2007, the financial basis of the Fund was improved by broader coverage and a stricter examination of all contributors, including the artists as beneficiaries. In September 2008, the attempt of some federal states (Länder) in the Bundesrat to abolish the Social Security Act for Artists failed, due to a broadly supported protest against such plans both from cultural policy makers of all parties and from culture and artists’ associations. 2018 also saw the failure of a company’s constitutional complaint against the artists’ social security contribution, which was supported by the Taxpayers’ Association (Bund Deutscher Steuerzahler).
On 1st January 2015, the Artists’ Social Insurance Stabilisation Act (Künstlersozialabgabenstabilierungsgesetz) came into force. The aim is to insure the regular review and advisory services of the employers concerning the social insurance levy, in order to stabilise the rate of charge and to pursue levy justice. Now the German pension insurance compulsorily audits all undertakings (companies) and employers every 4 years, who have more than 19 employees that are already registered at KSK.