Germany/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.4 Social security frameworks

Artists and journalists / authors in the Federal Republic of Germany enjoy comprehensive social security coverage. When employed, they are covered under the general social security regimes. Self-employed artists and journalists / authors are obliged to join the Artists' Social Insurance Fund (KSK). The special protection for self-employed artists and journalists / authors provided for under the Artists' Social Insurance Act (KSVG) which came into force on August 2nd, 1981 encompasses statutory health, long-term or old age care and pension insurance. Like employees, the artists and journalists / authors must only pay half of the social insurance contribution. Sixty percent of what could be labelled an "employers share" is paid by the companies that regularly exploit and market the work of artists and journalists / authors. To that effect, the enterprises are charged with an artists' social insurance levy (Künstlersozialabgabe) on all fees and royalties paid, whose level is subject to annual adjustments. For example, the levy reached 5.8% in 2005 and then decreased in the following years to 4.1% in 2013. In 2014 this levy reached 5.2 %.

In addition, the Federal Government provides a subsidy to help fund the supposed "employee's share" with 40% of the expenditures of the Artists' Social Insurance Fund. Through another amendment of the Artists' Social Security Law that came into effect in June 2007, the financial basis of the Fund was improved by broader coverage and a stricter examination of all contributors, including the artists as beneficiaries. In September 2008, the attempt of some federal states (Länder) in the Bundesrat to abolish the Social Security Act for Artists failed, due to a broadly supported protest against such plans both from cultural policy makers of all parties and from culture and artists' associations.

On 1st January 2015, the Artists' Social Insurance Stabilisation Act (Künstlersozialabgabenstabilierungsgesetz) came into force. The aim is to insure the regular review and advisory services of the employers concerning the social insurance levy, in order to stabilise the rate of charge and to pursue levy justice. Now the German pension insurance audits compulsorily every 4 years all undertakings (companies) and employers with more than 19 employees that are already registered at KSK.

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


Chapter published: 31-08-2016


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