Since January 2001, when the new Law on Social Security for Artists came into force, freelanceartists are treated the same as other self-employed professionals, which means that they must pay their statutory social security insurance if they earn more than 6 453 euros per year. In many cases, the new lawcreated a situation whereby artists end up making two different types of social insurance payments:statutory insurance for freelance work and any other social security insurance payments: statutory insurancefor freelance work and any other social security insurance payments, which result from other part-time andfree-lance work, the contribution to the social security system is relatively high compared to the totalincome.A working group with representatives of all parties involved in this matter discussed the possibility of special regulations and helping artists with these payments. The new law set up a SocialSecurity Insurance Fund for Artists, which grants artists a pension supplement of up to 85,5 euros per month, if their income is between 333 euros and 1635 euros per month. Those artists entitled to receive agrant must meet certain requirements such as being specifically trained (art university graduates, for example). Others are selected by a specific board (commission). This new Social Security Insurance Fundfor Artists, paid out euro 4,6 in supplements. From 2000 until 2003, this fund was supported by the FederalChancellery/Art Department.The new Social Security Insurance System was widely criticized by artists and their professionalassociations, because of the exclusion of artists on very low incomes. Further demands are to secureobligatory contributions to the fund by the federal government and supplement not only for pensions, butalso for health and accident insurance.
, on becoming independent, has opted for a market economy. Free enterprise is acentral element in this, and a national privatisation programme was implemented in two stages. Theestablishment of a market economy in Azerbaijan, made it neccesary to rethink social security and tointroduce a whole new welfare strategy. Within a short space of time, over ten laws were passed, extendingsocial security to broad sections of the population. Altough there are no special legal provisions for culturalworkers as separate professional group in Azerbaijan, and their activities are regulated in general bylegislation for private enterpreneurship, there are a number of provisions in the constitution and the Law onCulture that directly concern and defend their interests.In
artists pay taxes under the Personal Income Tax Act, which allows them to deduct50% of their expances from taxable income received for the creation of works of art, science and culture,folk arts and crafts, and copyright royalties. Furthermore, taking into account the specificy of creativework, the legislation provides an oppurtunity for income averaging derived from creative work undertakenin the course of more than one year (e.g.the writnig of a book), but not exceeding four years. Artists thusavoid the progressive annual income tax.
has taken measures to enable artists who receive unemployment benefits to practise their art more freely, which hitherto had been prohibited by law.In December 2002, the federal parliament ratified measures to improve the social security systemfor artists. On july 1st 2003, this regulation came into effect. The main points are:1.artists are treated either as employees or as self-employe for the purposes of social security. Tostimulate salaried work for artists, employers are given a discount on their share of social securitycontributions to compensate for these additional costs;
children and holiday allowances for artists, which are covered by employees regulation, will be paid by the federal government. This will simplify the payment of the allowances caused byworking for different employers;
those who infrequently hire artists (e.g.for an occasional show in a cafe or for an individualcommission) can apply to the „Social Bureau for Artists“ to take care of the employer’s share of administrative procedures. These bueraux, mostly interim offices, must be recognized by theregional authorities.The
joint committees (JC)
include an equal amount of employer and amployee organizationrepresentatives under the direction of an independent chairperson. JCs have been set up for all branches of industry with the aim of grouping companies with similar activities and to develop