France/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

Civil servants have a specific social security regime, salaried workers are managed by the Social Security Office and independent workers have their own sectoral social security offices.

Paralleling the emergence of the Welfare State, public authorities tried to improve the social status of artists and creators: with the creation of the Caisse nationale des lettres in 1946 (nowadays the National Centre for Books and Literature), the Copyright Law of 1957, social security for artists-authors in 1964 (see for instance: law n° 75-1348 of 31 December 1975 on social security for artists, authors of literary and dramatic, musical and choreographic, audiovisual and cinematic, graphic and visual works; article L.382-1 and following with the Social Security Code).

A specific social security regime for temporary and occasional workers (intermittence) was set up in 1936 for the technicians of the cinema industry and from 1969, performing artists and interpreters were also covered, followed by technicians in the performing arts. With this regime, named "intermittence du spectacle", performing artists and technicians benefit from the presumption that they are salaried: consequently, they have access, despite discontinuity in their employment, to various measures for social security coverage (health insurance, unemployment benefit, insurance for incapacity and death, retirement pensions, housing aid, etc.) and professional training. The question of preserving this exceptional regime has to be regularly addressed, partly because of its cost and of certain abuses that can be observed (see circular of Prime Minister of 6 August 2003 on the mobilisation of State departments relating to the economic and social situation in the audiovisual, cinema and performing arts sector). In 2003, 2014 and 2016 several festivals were troubled, sometimes cancelled, theatres were occupied. Following the work of a conciliation board (mission « Archambault-Combrexelle-Gille », names of the coordinators), the social partners of the concerned sectors came to an agreement  in April 2016, to maintain the regime while modifying some points (increasing participation of employers to the financing, for instance) (see chapter 4.2.9).

See also comparative information provided in the Compendium "Themes!" section under "Status of Artists".

Chapter published: 18-05-2017