In general, artists in Latvia have artistic freedom to express their views, on the condition that they respect statutory rules (see chapter 2.2. about cultural rights). In public debate, artists admit financial conditions and self-censorship as prevailing limitations.
Remuneration of artists and cultural workers has always been a topic in public debate and public policy discourse.
The government proved its willingness to increase salaries in the cultural sector by signing the Memorandum (2005) that guaranteed an increase in the average salary in state cultural institutions until 2010. In 2009, due to the economic crisis, salaries in public administration decreased by 11%, while salaries in the public cultural sector decreased by 35% (both compared to 2008). Since then, the gap between salaries in public administration and public cultural sector has gradually decreased (in 2018, average salary in public administration was 1 032 EUR and 912 EUR in public cultural sector).
In particular, individual and freelance cultural workers have difficult working conditions. The study on the Status of Creative Persons in Latvia in 2012 (Latvian Academy of Culture, 2013) indicates that 18% of the respondents are self-employed; while 25% are employed illegally (for 61% low renumeration is the reason for not paying taxes).
The Council of the Creative Unions of Latvia initiated the debate and the development of legislation concerning social security of freelance artists. A public debate took place in 2012. As a follow up, the Ministry of Culture established a working group. In 2015, the drafting of the Law on the Status of Creative Persons and Professional Creative Organizations was completed. The Law has been in force since 2018. The aim of the law is to provide support to creative persons who due to the specific employment nature do not receive regular income or are experiencing temporary loss of capacity to work (long-term unemployment or illness). Assistance is provided directly to so-called freelance artists or creative persons who are not employed by an employer, but receive a payment based on the author contract. The law will be applicable to about 4000 persons in 28 creative organisations. Support is administered by the Council of the Creative Unions of Latvia in cooperation with the State Culture Capital Foundation.