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Factsheet for case EE-2020-17/355 Updated – measures in Estonia

Subsistence support for freelancers in creative industries

Vabakutseliste loovisikute lisatoetus

Country Estonia , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 19 April 2020 – 31 December 2020
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 Ingel Kadarik (Praxis Center for Policy Studies) and Eurofound
Case created 07 April 2020 (updated 06 January 2021)

Background information

The cultural sector has been strongly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak due to the restrictions on public gatherings and the cancellation of all public cultural events. The Ministry of Culture has proposed a measure to support the freelance creative persons by mitigating the conditions for applying for a support benefit. The support is paid from the Ministry to the artistic associations who use it as 1) support to creative persons engaged in a liberal profession for creative activity and 2) grants for the creative activities of creative persons. Changes to the conditions were made in the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act.

Content of measure

The changes are meant for creative persons, who are not in civil service or not employed on the basis of an employment contract or similar contract, and who are active in the following artistic fields:

  1. Architecture.
  2. Audiovisual arts.
  3. Design.
  4. Performing arts.
  5. Sound arts.
  6. Literature.
  7. Visual arts.
  8. Scenography.

The support for creative persons must be used solely for creative persons support (and not for grants and trainings) until the end of 2020, in case specifically allowed by the Ministry. Additionally, current eligibility criteria for the support will be relaxed:

  • a person can apply for the support if at least two years have passed since the end of the previous support period - this restriction will be abolished
  • a person cannot apply for the support if they have received other income under service contract the previous month and they cannot receive income while receiving the support - the changes will allow income in the sum of national minimum wage.

These measures will be in force during the emergency situation and six months afterwards.

A total of €4.2 million is used for the measure.


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

30 December 2020

The budget was exhausted by October 2020, thus additional €110,000 was allocated for this measure. This ensured that those creative persons who applied for the support before 22 September, received it. Still, there were a number of applications that were not accepted due to the exhausted budget.

Use of measure

Altogether 960 creative persons received the support. By profession, the subsidy divided as follows:

  • visual art - 26%
  • sound art - 24%
  • performing art - 20%
  • other five fields - 30%.

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)
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement as case not in social partner domain No involvement as case not in social partner domain
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown



Views and reactions

No information to add.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      R - Arts, Entertainment And Recreation R90 Creative, arts and entertainment activities
      R93 Sports activities and amusement and recreation activities

This case is not occupation-specific.


  • 05 April 2020: Measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 virus outbreak in culture and audiovisual sector in Estonia (
  • 05 May 2020: Culture support package (kultuurivaldkonna toetuspakett) (
  • 16 October 2020: Additional budget for the support (Loovisikutele maksti kriisitoetusi 4,3 miljoni euro eest, viimasteks väljamakseteks tuleb lisaraha) (


Eurofound (2020), Subsistence support for freelancers in creative industries, case EE-2020-17/355 (measures in Estonia), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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