Support of the Rights of Freelance Artists and Encouraging Cultural Creativity
The legislator has acknowledged the special status of freelance artists in comparison with other workers. They have the right to retirement and disability insurance and health insurance, and these contributions are paid from the state budget. The key objective of this measure is to encourage and promote the diversity of creative work through giving a basic social security framework support for freelance artists.
A freelance artist becomes a member of The Croatian Freelance Artists Association (HZSU) on the basis of his / her creative work and so can apply to have his / her contributions paid from the state budget, as long as he / she meets the criteria laid down in the Regulations about the procedures and conditions for the recognition of the rights of artists to have their retirement, disability and medical insurance paid out of the state budget of the Republic of Croatia. A three-year evaluation period is also included. Applications by the artists are considered by an Expert Commission, and decisions are subsequently confirmed by the Minister of Culture. When the Expert Commission has made a favourable decision, the Croatian Association of Freelance Artists registers the freelance artist with the Croatian Institute for Retirement Insurance and the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance according to the artist's place of residence. There are 30 arts associations which appoint their members to the expert commission.
The implementation of the measure regulates the manner and conditions of granting the right to the independent artist to have the compulsory contributions for retirement and health insurance paid from the budget of the Republic of Croatia, in order to support those artists whose artistic creativity and public activity represents a notable contribution to Croatian culture and the arts.
Approximately 35 000 000 KN (approx. 4 666 666 EUR) was earmarked in 2016 for the implementation of the measure.
In the pre-recession period, the number of independent artists entitled for support from the state budget was on the rise; according to available data from the Ministry (2007), in the period 2003-2007, it increased from 1 263 to 1 341. However, it can be said that the upward trend has diminished during the crisis period; according to online data from the Croatian Freelance Artists' Association (HZSU) in June 2010, there were 1 316 freelance artists entitled to the support registered, while in November 2012 the number lowered to 1 283 artists (the date of this unofficial online data was not listed), while in October 2013 there were 1 303 freelance artists listed on the HZSU website, in October 2014 this number dropped to 1 300, while in May 2016 it amounted to 1 319.