The government has approved a draft law that will make it easier for freelance artists to enjoy social benefits such as universal health care by having the artists' union act as the "employer." At the same time, stricter rules will be rolled out for the unions to prevent exploitation of the new system.
Currently, artists have to be registered as a corporate entity to apply for the loometoetus - support for creative activity - and pay social tax on the amount, which is the mechanism for registering with the Health Insurance Fund.
If the new bill becomes law, the creative union would pay the social tax on the artist.
"Independent artists would thus become eligible for health insurance and the paid social tax is counted as part of the national pension insurance," said Culture Minister Rein Lang, who said the new system would reduce bureaucracy.
The draft law also makes the grounds and procedure for registering creative unions more clearcut. "As differences have arisen in the course of interpreting the current legislation as to what exactly is the obligation of a creative union to 'develop its creative field,' now this bill clearly lists the conditions it must meet," said Lang.
Under the new rules, a creative union must have at least 50 active individuals and it must represent a significant share of people working in a given discipline. Creative unions will not be recognized if 40 percent or more of its members already belong to another creative union.
Support for creative activity will not be paid more than once to artists who are in multiple creative unions, for example a multidisciplinary artist who belongs to both the ceramic union and the painters' union will not get twice the support.
The coefficient for determining the support for creative activity is also set to rise from 20 percent to 21.5 percent. The bill is scheduled to enter into force as of the new year.