Status of artists in Germany

In the European Union, the labour rights of the Member States have been and are still being harmonised by a wide range of directives. The EU determines minimum standards to be implemented by its Member States, for example through the Part-Time Work Directive 97/81/EC (December 1997), Directive 2003/88/EC on the organisation of working time (November 2003) and Directive 2004/38/EC on freedom of movement (April 2004). Information on EU labour law can be found here

Despite the EU directives, however, national laws still apply in Germany. Artists and creatives do not have a special legal status in Germany. The status of an artist depends on their actual professional activities and on the type of contract they conclude. There are two distinct main categories: artists and creatives are either self-employed or employed.

A theatre books an actor for several performances over a period of three months. The work he performs is bound by instructions and his place of work and working hours are clearly defined. The work therefore constitutes an employment relationship that is subject to social security contributions.
If, on the other hand, the actor were to offer his solo programme to the theatre, this would constitute self-employment (see Self-employment).