There are specific measures for self-employed persons in the cultural sector including recognition of their freelance status for tax purposes and social security. The bases for granting these privileges are exceptional achievements and the government’s decision to encourage growth in the number of professional artists. This special status is awarded for three years and may be extended. In 2012, 1 494 self-employed artists out of 2 278 registered had been given this special socio-economic status which cost 5.77 million EUR in 2012 or almost 3.35% of the ministry’s budget. There were significant changes in this area in 2012 with the adoption of changes in the Decree on self-employed professionals in culture which, on one hand, made a clearer and more transparent set of criteria for obtaining the status for tax purposes and social security, yet the criteria have been heavily criticised for their exclusivity, over pronouncement on the criteria of excellence (it is debatable, whether such status is intended as a reward for excellence or as a social corrective) which amount to 80% of the final grade and the inclusion of some problematic criteria (such as awards, which in several fields don’t exist at all). NGO sector analyses projected that the renewed set of criteria might lead to a severe drop in the number of those who are given self-employed status, although fortunately this was not realised.
Also, in 2012, a new Pension and Disability Insurance Act (Official Gazette No. 114/06 – ZUTPG, 10/08 – ZVarDod, 98/09 – ZIUZGK, 38/10 – ZUKN, 61/10 – ZSVarPre, 79/10 – ZPKDPIZ, 94/10 – ZIU, 94/11 – odl. US, 105/11 – odl. US, 110/11 – ZDIU12, 40/12 – ZUJF and 96/12 – ZPIZ-2) was adopted which cancelled the previous classification of income groups for payments of social security. It was calculated in a study by Asociacija, the Association of Slovenian Journalists and the Open Chamber for Contemporary Art, that the new system will lead to pronounced income inequality among those self-employed in culture, as those with top incomes will get an additional bonus, while those in the lower half of the distribution will suffer losses up to 1 000 EUR individually in 2018 as compared to the situation in 2012. The new law will be implemented gradually with additional changes each year until 2018 and will impact also on other groups in the cultural sector (particularly the private entrepreneurs).
A retired cultural worker who has made an especially important contribution to Slovene culture but whose pension does not correspond to the contribution he has made may be granted a Republic Allowance by the Minister after consultation with the expert commission from the area of work of the candidate. In determining the level of the Republic Allowance social circumstances are taken into account. A Republic Allowance may also be granted as an addition to a family pension. Public funds for the Republic Allowance under this Act shall be provided by the ministry responsible for culture from that part of the state budget intended for culture. In 2012, 518 708 EUR were spent for such allowances. Another intervention in the pension system is Exceptional Pensions for artists which had been granted in the past according to artistic merits. The measure, which originated in the previous period, is from time to time publicly criticised as a relic from previous system.