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Factsheet for measure AT-2020-14/631 Updated – measures in Austria

COVID-19 - Arts and culture - Overview of support measures for artists

Corona Kunst und Kultur

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 30 March 2020 – 30 June 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Income protection beyond short-time work
– Extensions of income support to workers not covered by any kind of protection scheme
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 15 April 2020 (updated 02 March 2023)

Background information

'There are very specific measures for the arts and culture to cover the special features of the cultural scene. But of course artists also have access to the entire range of support. We want to prevent people from losing their jobs, their income and at all costs everyday life can no longer afford. Nobody should be left behind.' explains State Secretary for Art and Culture Ulrike Lunacek on the unprecedented situation, which is very challenging for the entire art and culture business.

The federal government's mix of measures to combat the effects of COVID-19 includes a range of support for the cultural sector.

Content of measure

An overview of measures for artists is available on the Federal government's page

In addition to the general support measures set by government (for example, the Corona short time work scheme, see case 229 in the COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch database or the hardship fund for self-employed case 212 ), the page also lists specific funds which are only available for artists.

This includes, for instance:

  • COVID-19 fund for artists and intermediaries ('Kulturvermittler');
  • All artists who are not eligible to apply the hardship fund of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce can bring an application to the KSVF (Artist Social Insurance Fund) from 30 March 2020.

The support is intended to compensate for the loss of income caused by closings and cancellations.

The KSVF's COVID-19 fund is endowed with up to €5 million and is intended to ensure rapid aid. In addition to artists, cultural mediators can now apply for this grant. The amount paid out by the KSVF corresponds to that of the hardship fund. The fund consists of two phases:

  • in the first phase €1,000 are paid as emergency aid (until 2 July 2020),
  • in the second phase (starting on 10 July 2020), a one-time payment of €3,000 is paid (amount received from phase one is deducted)

A separate service page has been set up for loss of income due to the COVID-19 measures: KSVF service fund.

Individual funds run by copyright collecting societies (e.g. music, visual arts, film-making, etc.). Seven dedicated funds are also listed on the webpage.

In addition to the state instruments for compensating artists' loss of income, there is now also a private initiative. To help artists in the current crisis, foundations have joined together to form the "Foundations Help Artists" initiative and are supported by well-known people.

Work grants from the City of Vienna due to COVID-19: Since the end of March, freelance artists and freelance scientists with their main residence in Vienna have been able to apply for one-time work grants of up to €3,000. In this crisis situation, there should be the opportunity to continue to pursue artistic and scientific activities (project development, reading, exhibition and lecture preparation and the like).


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

17 January 2022

The bridging fund for artists was extended via a new regulation until 30 April 2022, with the maximum amount of €1,800 to apply for.

The COVID-19 fund was extended to included a fifth phase (see update from 2 August 2021 on the fourth phase), running from 17 January to 30 June 2022. A maximum amount of €1,000 may be applied for.

30 November 2021

Amid a further lockdown in Austria, the bridging fund for artists (see updates from 7 October 2020 and 22 April 2021), at a current budget of €150 million, was further increased. In 2022, its budget is to reach €175 million.

The maximum funding for the third quarter of 2021 was at €1,800, in the form of a one-off payment. From 6 December 2021 onwards, applications for the months of November and December are possible, at a maximum amount of €2,000. Further applications for 2022 will be possible, details are currently worked out.

02 August 2021

Phase 4 of the KSVF's COVID-19 fund started on 2 August 2021 and finishes on 31 December 2021. During this time-period, a one-time payment of €1,000 can be applied for - depending on the budget available. The fund is intended to support only those artists and cultural mediators who still suffer from an existence-threatening loss of income despite opening measures for events that had been implemented.

15 June 2021

On 15 June, Federal State Secretary for Arts and Culture Ms Mayer announced the extension of the bridging fund for artists concerned by the Corona crisis by one further quarter (30 September 2021). For each month, €600 may be applied for (total of €1,800 for July-September) until 31 October 2021.

22 April 2021

On 22 April 2021, the National Council has approved to increase the bridging fund for artists by €20 million, thus reaching a total budget of €140. Applications for both the bridging fund and the COVID-19 fund are possible until 30 June 2021 (subject to budgetary resources).

24 February 2021

In February 2021, the COVID-19 fund was increased by a further €20 million, thus doubling the budget to €40 million. The bridging fund for artists was increased by €10 million and now has a budget of €120 million.

23 December 2020

The European Commission approved of the national "protective umbrella" for the event industry, which has suffered severely from the crisis. The budget lies at €300 million and is intended to provide an incentive and security for the future planning of events (e.g. sports events, cultural events, congresses, trade fairs and markets). The umbrella ensures that costs which cannot be cancelled are reimbursed if an event needs to be canceled. Eligible costs are "non-cancelable" expenses for services provided by third parties (e.g. suppliers, technology, catering, artists, bar, service, florist, event location, cancellation costs, advertising cost subsidies) and personnel costs that are directly related to the planning and implementation of the event. The subsidy is processed by the Austrian Hotel and Tourism Bank. Applications are to be submitted from 15 January 2021 onwards, the first eligible event date is 1 February 2021. Applications may be submitted until 15 June 2021 and cover planned events until the end of 2022.

11 December 2020

In November 2020, the COVID-19 fund was increased by a further €10 million (after a first increase of €5 million in September 2020), reaching €20 million now. As of 11 December 2020, the individual subsidy for phase 2 from the KSVF's COVID-19 Fund is increased by €500 due to the government's new lockdown measures which have further aggravated the economic and financial situation for many artists and cultural mediators. The increase is paid automatically, no separate application is needed. For 2021, a further subsidy (phase 3) is planned. For the first quarter 2021, €1,500 per person are paid.

In December 2020, the bridging fund (see update 7/10/2020) was increased from €90 to €110 million and prolonged into 2021. From 15 January 2021 onwards, a payment of €3,000 can be applied for the first quarter 2021. A "lockdown bonus" was implemented in November 2020 when the government initiated new lockdown measures, severely affecting independent (self-employed) artists. Originally, the one-time payment was at €1,300, this was increased to €2,000 in December (when a third lockdown was implemented).

07 October 2020

A special bridging fund for artists was established on 8 July 2020. The fund is endowed with approximately €90 million and aims to provide specific support to artists who are particularly affected by the measures to combat COVID-19, since they were the first to be affected and the restrictions will reduce their earning potential for a particularly long time. Self-employed artists who are insured with the Social Insurance for the Self-Employed (SVS) and who are in a state of emergency can apply for a one-off payment of €6,000 since July 2020. This payment was increased to €10,000 on 7 October. Applications for the increased bridging financing can be submitted to the SVS until 31 December 2020. Any payments already received or granted from the hardship fund are deducted.

09 September 2020

The Federal Government decided on 9 September 2020 in the Council of Ministers to increase the COVID-19 fund from €5 to €10 million.

08 July 2020

A further fund, the "bridging fund for artists" was set up in June 2020, endowed with €90 million. The fund aims to provide specific support to artists who are particularly affected by the measures to combat COVID-19, as they were the first to be affected by these measures and the restrictions will reduce their earning potential for a particularly long time. Eligible for application are self-employed artists who are compulsorily or voluntarily insured with the Social Insurance Institution of the Self-employed (SVS). A one-off payment of €6,000 is planned. Any payments already received from the hardship fund AT-2020-13_212 ) will be deducted. Artists in this matter are defined as those persons who create, exercise, mediate or teach art and culture. The SVS is responsible for processing the subsidies according to this federal law. The maximum amount of aid is €6,000 in the form of a one-time payment. Funds can be applied for from 8 July 2020 onwards, until 31 December 2020.

17 June 2020

A 'comeback grant' is paid to independent film production companies whose productions have been interrupted or postponed due to COVID-19 from 16 March to 31 December 2020. Up to 100% of the eligible costs will be reimbursed (eligible costs include personnel costs, costs in the field of image and sound recording like rental of camera, sound recording equipment, lighting equipment and other production-related equipment, costs of motif fees, rental of studio and decoration buildings, costs in the field of equipment, travel, transport and handling costs). Up to 75% of the originally calculated production costs can be reimbursed in such a way. The maximum amount per production (i.e. film or episode) lies at €2.5 million.

Use of measure

Since 10 July 2020, 1,147 persons could be supported by the KSVF's COVID-19 fund with €2.714 million, and together with the emergency aid, €4.846 million have already been paid. The initially planned €5 million from the COVID-19 Fund has been exhausted, taking into account the still open applications. Funds were increased to €10 million in September 2020 and in March 2021 by another €20 million. In December 2021, the fund was increased to €50 million.

Just over 10,000 persons in the arts and culture sector were supported by the funding measures in total by April 2022.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Particular professions
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
Local / regional government
European Funds
Local funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


Social partner involvement is unknown.

Views and reactions


Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      R - Arts, Entertainment And Recreation R90 Creative, arts and entertainment activities
    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Legal, social and cultural professionals



Eurofound (2020), COVID-19 - Arts and culture - Overview of support measures for artists, measure AT-2020-14/631 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.