New substantial reform for the artist’s “status”
April 27 2023
As you have already heard, the artist’s “status” – strictly speaking, it’s not a status – has been granted a substantial reform in 2022. With the publication on 13 March 2023 of a first Royal Decree on the functioning of the Kunstwerkcommissie, the criteria and procedure for the recognition of arts federations and the improvement of social protection for arts workers, we know more about the first practical applications of this new framework applicable to performers, among others. Here is a quick overview of the most important elements!
- A new procedure to qualify for the special benefit scheme for artists
A new “Commission du Travail des Arts” or “Kunstwerkcommissie” (Arts Labour Commission) will replace the “Commission Artistes”/”Commissie Kunstenaars” (Artists Commission) and will be responsible for granting 3 types of attestations of the arts worker that will allow the holder to invoke all the specific rules applicable to arts workers but also the future rules that will be created for them:
- “CLASSIC” attestation (Validity period: 5 years, renewable): this attestation can be obtained by the worker who brings proof of “a professional artistic practice in the arts”. The fields covered are audiovisual arts, plastic arts, music, literature, performance, theater, choreography and comics.
- “PLUS” attestation (valid for 5 years, renewable): this certificate may be granted to artists who demonstrate a minimum gross income over a certain period. Why “plus”? Because it gives the right to the holders of this certificate to claim the application of the rule of the “statute of the artist” namely a system of specific allowances for the worker of the arts. If you have the “PLUS” certificate and can prove that you have worked 156 days as an employee over a period of 24 months (or 11,274.12 € gross), you can benefit from this system, its rate and its non-degressive rules.
- “BEGINNER” attestation (Validity period: 3 years, non-renewable): this certificate concerns a “beginner” worker who has a diploma of higher artistic education or who has equivalent training/work experience in an arts sector mentioned in the decree. In order to qualify, the worker must be “either in possession of a career or business plan or in the process of undergoing training to develop such a plan.” In addition, he or she must be able to prove that he or she has either performed at least 5 artistic performances or obtained a gross income of 300 euros “in the so-called main activities during the 3-year period preceding the application”. These rules are therefore more flexible than those for the other two types of attestations, the objective being to support “beginners” who are starting out in the cultural sector. In terms of content, this attestation also makes it possible to claim the rule of “artist status” (the benefits of the artist, editor’s note).
What will be the procedure for obtaining these certificates?
- The application will be made electronically via the platform https://www.workinginthearts.be/. The actual opening date of the section dedicated to applications for certificates is not yet known.
- The Commission, composed of 50% artists and representatives of the cultural sector (a much better representation than in the past!), will analyze the “artistic and “necessary” character of the services performed by the worker, as well as the fact that the volume of these services demonstrates the main activity of the worker:
- “Artistic and necessary”: That the services relate to one of the arts listed in the legislation and that “without them, the same artistic result could not be obtained.”
- “Main Activity”: That the volume of activities is representative of the fact that the services submitted constitute a main professional activity.
- If this volume corresponds to an amount greater than 65,400€ gross over the 5-year period, this criterion will automatically be met.
- If it represents between 1,000€ gross and 65,400€ gross over the 5-year period, the Commission will look at other elements to verify that the income generated can cover part of the subsistence needs or that the artistic work represents a significant part of the professional time investment.
- If this represents less than 1,000 € gross over the last 2 years preceding the application, the file will be refused.
- An increase in the stacking limit between authors’ rights/neighboring rights and arts worker allowances
Good news! The possibility of cumulating author’s rights (and neighbouring rights) with arts allowances has been doubled and will amount to 10.420,80€ net taxable per year. Below this amount, there will be no impact on what the arts worker will receive as allowance.
- Transitional measures from “artist status” to “arts worker status
The new procedure will take effect no later than January 1, 2024 or as soon as the new Arts Labour Commission is in place. In the meantime, transitional measures have been in effect since October 1, 2022 for performers who did not have the benefit of the freeze on degressivity at that time. For artists who already had this favorable regime, nothing will change until the new Commission is set up and the new procedure comes into force.
More information on the transitional measures
- No more “kleine vergoedingsregeling voor kunstenaars” (KVR)/”Régime des Petites Indemnités” (RPI) for professionals, replaced by “amateurkunstenvergoeding” (AKV)/”Indemnités des Arts Amateurs” (IAA)
The flat-rate compensation scheme for artistic activities will no longer apply to professionals in the sector. The new mechanism will only concern amateur artists and it will no longer be possible for professional performers to use the new system.
TIPS: For more information on this new decree and the next steps in the implementation of the status of artist reform, please visit https://www.artistatwork.be/fr/news.