Insights European Parliament calls for legislative proposal to improve the working conditions for cultural and creative sector (“CCS”) workers


In June 2023, two committees of the European Parliament (CULT and EMPL) published a Draft Report calling on the European Commission to legislate to improve working conditions for CCS workers. This proposal could include all those working, whether as a creator or in a technical or other role, in a potentially wide range of sectors such as architecture, archives and libraries, crafts, audiovisual (film, TV, video games), radio, music (recorded, live, festivals), fashion, performing arts, books, newspapers and visual arts.

According to the Draft Report, CCS workers are often self-employed, working in low paid jobs, on short-term contracts or cross-border. The living and working conditions of CCS workers can be precarious and unstable, with unpredictable incomes, weak bargaining power in relation to contracts for their work and weak or no rights to social security benefits (such as for healthcare, sickness, maternity, pensions and unemployment).

The Report calls, amongst other things, for CCS workers to have a specific status under Member State laws (in countries where no such status exists), whether they are employed or self-employed, to ensure they can benefit from specific conditions attached to such status. Further, without cross border portability of social security entitlements, which also vary between countries, sectors and types of work, CCS workers often face multiple payments of social and health insurance in several Member States, without being able to benefit from them. The Report therefore calls for a targeted EU act to promote access to a comprehensive and adequate social security system for CCS workers.

The Report refers to abusive or coercive practices and power imbalances that may result in unfair contracts under which CCS workers agree to a buy-out of the rights in their works. This involves the creator waiving their rights in full or in part, in perpetuity, in exchange for a one-off payment, effectively eliminating the possibility of receiving future royalties for the use of their work. Focusing on the importance of ensuring that holders of copyright are fairly remunerated, the Report calls for Member States to commit to monitor the use of buy-out contracts, the prevention of undeclared work and the eradication of “bogus self-employment practices”.

The Report states that the CCS shows an above average exposure to intimidation and discrimination and calls on Member States to redouble efforts to eradicate sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the CCS. Finally, the Report calls on the Commission to ensure an enabling environment for collective bargaining in the CCS, to develop a proactive strategic approach to anticipate the effect of automation on CCS jobs, to assess the challenges posed by AI-generated content on the CCS and to guarantee artistic freedom as part of the working conditions for CCS workers.

After several proposed amendments, the Committees have now agreed on the text of the Draft Report (text not yet available). Parliament will vote on whether to accept the Draft Report in its plenary session in November and the Commission will have three months to indicate whether they will adopt the recommendations.

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