Information for cultural professionals

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic are having a major impact on people working in the cultural sector and on cultural businesses. Protective measures, along with postponement and cancellation of cultural events and projects are having an enormous negative impact on cultural life. At the same time, cultural professionals and cultural enterprises are developing projects and concepts in order to adapt to the changed conditions. The Federal Government and the cantons have put together a package of support measures to protect livelihoods and to prevent longer term harm to cultural life.

What support do cultural professionals receive?

In the cultural sector, a high proportion of cultural professionals are self-employed or freelance and as such cannot be covered by short-time working or protected by unemployment insurance.

Self-employed cultural professionals who have suffered losses in income due to official measures to tackle coronavirus can make an application to their compensation office [Ausgleichskasse] for compensation for loss of earnings due to coronavirus [Corona-Erwerbsersatzentschädigung] provided that no other compensation or insurance benefit has already been paid for this period. Cultural professionals whose economic existence is threatened because of state measures to tackle coronavirus can get Swissculture sociale emergency aid to cover immediate costs of living. This applies to self-employed, freelance and employed professionals in need.

On 18 December 2020, the Federal Council also decided that cultural professionals can apply for loss of income compensation again. Corresponding applications from cultural professionals domiciled in Basel-Stadt can be submitted to the Division of Cultural Affairs from January 2021. Detailed information about this will follow as soon as possible. 

More information:

What about contracts?

The Federal Government and the cantons ask cultural enterprises to fairly compensate cultural operators for agreed engagements when appearances or projects cannot go ahead. Cultural enterprises can include the losses in their applications. They are asked to use the minimum fees recommended by the relevant industry associations as a guide.

What support do cultural enterprises receive?

Cultural enterprises can take up those support measures that are also available to other businesses ‒ obviously provided that they satisfy the relevant conditions. You can find detailed information about the regulations for businesses here.

They can also apply to the canton for loss of income compensation for cancelled or postponed projects, as well as for contributions to transformation projects. Applications are accepted by the Division of Cultural Affairs.

Which regulations apply for cultural events?

These regulations apply in the Canton of Basel-Stadt when it comes to dealing with events

What about safety policies?

Cultural institutions and organisers of cultural events must develop and follow safety policies. You can find more information and framework safety policies here.

Where can I find further information?

You can find detailed information about Covid-19 support measures for cultural professionals and cultural enterprises at:

You can obtain detailed information about support in the cultural sector and about the legal principles of the Federal Government from the Federal Office of Culture (BAK)

You can get more information about the current situation of cultural professionals from Suisse Culture, the umbrella body of organisations for cultural professionals, as well as from the industry associations: Verein Musikschaffende Schweiz, the professional association of musicians in Switzerland, Verein der Theaterschaffenden Schweiz, the professional association of the theatre industry in Switzerland, Danse Suisse, the professional association for the dance industry in Switzerland, Verband der Autorinnen und Autoren der Schweiz, the professional association of authors in Switzerland and Berufsverband der bildenden Künstlerinnen und Künstlern, the professional association of the plastic arts.

Further important information for cultural professionals

Umbrella organisation of organisations for cultural professionals Swissculture and Swissculture sociale.

The Verein Musikschaffende Schweiz demands payment of unpaid fees for musicians.

The Verein Theaterschaffende Schweiz demands payment of unpaid fees for theatre professionals.

Danse Suisse, Swiss professional association of dancers, demands payment of unpaid fees for dancers.

The Swiss association of authors provides information on its website: Swiss association of authors

The professional association of visual artists provides information on its website: Professional association of visual artists

Swissfoundations has put together important information for foundations providing funding.