Improving working conditions in the cultural sector
Building upon the evidence-based analysis and data provided by the study “On the social situation of artists in Austria” commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture in 2008, the Ministry initiated, in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, a broad discussion process on possible measures to improve the social situation and working conditions of artists in Austria (for further details on the consultation process see chapter 3.1.2.). Following the recommendations elaborated in this process a new Artists’ Social Security Structural Law has been drawn up, which entered into force in 2011. A cornerstone of this legislation is the establishment of a service centre for artists at the Social Security Institute for Trade and Industry. Given the complexity of typical artists’ careers (precarious employment, new forms of self employment, parttime work as well as multiple job-holding) this service centre intends to simplify and facilitate administrative procedures by providing for a “one stop shop” on social security matters for artists. A further amendment introduces the possibility for self-employed artists to register their activity as dormant and consequently have the right to claim unemployment benefits. Since the introduction of this measure in the beginning of 2011, more than 250 artists have used the possibility of registering their activity as being dormant. To monitor the activities of the service centre a data base has been established. Feedback by the insured confirms that the service centre provides improved and comprehensive support for artists in all social security matters. However, the overall customer satisfaction has yet to be assessed.