UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS OF AN ARTIST ENTREPRENEUR
An artist who is obliged to take out pension insurance in accordance with the Self-Employed Persons’ Pensions Act (YEL) is considered to be an entrepreneur with regard to issues of unemployment security benefits.
YEL liability is binding for an artist whose annual income from artistic work, not including work under an employment or service relationship, exceeds a set threshold (EUR 7,645.25 in 2017) when that artist does not fall within the scope of another pension act in connection with the same work activities. In practice, this means that when a visual artist’s annual sales exceed approx. EUR 11,000 (once expenses have been deducted), the artist is obliged to take out YEL insurance.
Being voluntarily signed up for YEL insurance does not have a direct effect on unemployment benefits. In this case, the artist is to be considered an entrepreneur only when other conditions are met. Analogously, a grant recipient is not considered to be an entrepreneur on the basis of MYEL insurance (Farmers’ Pension Insurance) (for further information on these matters, please refer to the separate instruction on grant-related situations).
If an artist is considered to be an entrepreneur in relation to unemployment security matters, the TE Office will assess whether the artistic activities are deemed to be full-time or instead part-time work. An artist employed in full-time artistic work is not eligible to receive employment benefits.
When an artist employs him- or herself part-time in entrepreneurial artistic activities, he or she may be eligible for adjusted unemployment benefits.
The decisive factor in assessing the employment of an artist-entrepreneur is the amount of work required by the artistic activities. If the workload is so great that it prevents accepting a full-time job, the employment in the artistic work is considered to be of a full-time nature and, therefore, the artist is not entitled to unemployment benefits.
The decision of the TE Office is based on comprehensive consideration wherein all the evidence related to the workload accumulated through the artistic work is taken into account. The assessment of the workload can be based on information provided by the job-seeker.
Artistic work can be defined as part-time if it requires only a small amount of work. This applies to both artistic activities begun alongside other work and activities started during unemployment. In addition, artistic work can be considered to be part-time on the basis of, for example, the artist being in gainful employment at the same time.
Artistic work can be considered part-time on the basis of the artist’s work history if the gainful employment and artistic work were simultaneous. In practice, activities are considered part-time work when the person had been carrying them out in parallel with gainful employment for at least six months or had met the work requirement by, for instance, working parttime.
Activities of an entrepreneur can be proved to be part-time also by, for example, the existence of full-time studies that have progressed at the normal pace and continued for minimum six months during the artistic work.
Considering artistic work to be part-time on the basis of the artist having been otherwise employed requires that there have been no changes in the extent of the activities. If, for example, artistic operations expanded after employment began, the TE Office must assess whether the artistic work can still be considered part-time.
Near the beginning of operations, artistic work may be so small-scale that it can be considered parttime. The TE Office can consider artistic work that began after the artist was left unemployed to be part-time if the small scale of the work can be identified from a lack of income.
Income received or lacking from artistic work does not have direct significance in the assessment of the amount of work. Even weakly profitable or loss-making operations can involve being employed to such an extent that accepting full-time employment is not possible.
If the TE Office sees that the artistic work is part-time, the artist will be issued a labour-policy statement for the part-time entrepreneurial work. In principle, the statement will be valid indefinitely.
The job-seeker always has the obligation to notify of any changes in, for example, the scope of the entrepreneurial activities. In other situations as well – for example, in connection with the provision of its other services – the TE Office can request clarification of possible changes in the artistic work considered to be entrepreneurial activities. Such changes may provide a reason to issue a new, relevant labour-policy statement.
If the artist works full-time in the artistic operations, receiving unemployment benefits requires either that the artistic work end or all artistic operations seen as entrepreneurial activity be ceased.