With the exception of the Artists‘ Social Insurance Act (see chapter 4.1.3), there are no special laws regarding the terms of employment for artists and other cultural workers. The general labour legislation is applied. If artists or cultural workers are employed in municipal, federal state (Länder) or federal facilities, then the public service regulations apply.
On the basis of the general Wage Agreement Law (TVG), special contracts and wage agreements for the cultural sector, including non-artistic staff, were concluded by unions and employers organisations for single artistic sectors and cultural facilities such as theatres, orchestras and music schools. The conditions of work for main occupational groups such as singers, actors, orchestra musicians etc., are laid down in these agreements. In addition, special courts of arbitration have been set up to settle employment disputes in theatres (Bühnenschiedsgericht).
The right of employees to participate in decision making processes is guaranteed through the General Worker Co-determination Laws (Mitbestimmungsrecht) and similar regulations for public service staff. However, these rights are somewhat restricted in companies such as e.g. theatres, museums or libraries as well as newspapers and broadcasters with regard to management decisions of artistic or scientific relevance (the so-called Tendenzschutz).
Of relevance for independent artists and journalists is a regulation from the 1970s: the Wage Agreement Law (§ 12a TVG), which was revised in October 2005. Under the law, freelancers who work predominantly for one company can enjoy an “employee-like” status which allows their professional organisations to conclude wage or fee agreements with their contractors.
In March 2018, the special regulations for unemployment benefit, for predominantly short-term employees were extended until 2021. This special regulation, from which many cultural workers also benefit, is now to be replaced by a solution worked out together with cultural workers from 2021 onwards.