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The digital era is changing, and the lines between an artist, publicist, and influencer are blurred. As someone who works with influencers, understanding the nuances of the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK) can significantly streamline your collaboration processes and foster healthier professional relationships. Let’s delve deep to unravel the aspects of KSK that hold considerable significance for both influencers and employers in Germany.
What is Künstlersozialkasse (KSK)?
The Künstlersozialkasse (KSK), is a unique institution in Germany that is in charge of the financial and social security for freelancers, particularly in the artistic and journalistic sectors. Initiated in 1983, the KSK aims to align the social security benefits of freelancers, including influencers and creators, with those of regular employees. As an employer, you must be aware that this insurance body facilitates a half-payment system where they cover 50% of social insurance contributions, a share that would have been shouldered by an employer in a regular employment setup.
How Does it Impact the Influencer?
For influencers, the KSK serves as a cornerstone that guarantees a safety net, especially in the initial phases of their freelance journey. By being a member, influencers have access to statutory social insurance at a lower cost, enhancing their financial stability during the early days of self-employment. The KSK enables them to secure health, pension, and long-term care insurance, all while availing the privilege to choose their health insurance fund.
If you are insured according to the KSVG, you have to pay a contribution to the KSK based on your income. This contribution is “topped up” by the KSK (comparable to an employee-employer relationship) and then passed on to the responsible providers (pension, health and nursing care insurance). The actual services such as health insurance chip cards, sick pay, pensions, rehabilitation services (e.g. “cures”); the KSK itself does not provide these services.
However, influencers need to maintain a minimum annual income threshold to continue enjoying the benefits, emphasizing a steady income stream from their creative endeavors. An exception is made for those still in the initial phases, who can enjoy membership for the first three years without reaching the minimum income.
Register for KSK here
How Does it Impact Me?
As a German employer collaborating with influencers, it's vital to note that part of the KSK's funding comes from taxing companies that actively collaborate with freelancers such as influencers. Your contribution as an employer is instrumental in sustaining this social security system that nurtures creators and artists alike. Moreover, understanding the nuances of KSK ensures legal compliance and fosters a collaborative environment where influencers can work without financial insecurities hovering over them.
If you hire freelance artists or influencers to work for your company regularly, you have to contribute with money to the KSK fund that aids these influencers with things like health insurance. This contribution is the tax that your company has to pay when you use the services of the creators. It is irrelevant whether the influencers have their own social insurance, your company still has to pay the contribution to support the overall social security system for creators. This system ensures that creators and those in the creative field get financial support from the companies that benefit from their work.
Artists and publicists earn money not only from companies but also from individuals like art collectors and event hosts. These individuals are exempt from contributing to the social security system.
To support artists and publicists who earn from these individuals, the government provides extra funding to the social security system. This government support ensures that artists and publicists have financial assistance, particularly when their income comes from sources beyond companies.
Influencers are compulsorily insured in a similar way to an employee and has to pay half the contribution to statutory pension, health and nursing care insurance. If you hire an artist who has to have insurance, you are not entitled to subtract the cost of that insurance from their pay or give them less money as a fee just because you are covering their insurance. Such agreements are prohibited by law, and they are void from the start. This rule is in place to ensure that artists are treated fairly and that they receive the full compensation they agreed upon for their work, without any deductions for insurance costs made by their employers or clients.
Are There Any Critical Points About KSK We Should Consider?
The KSK only covers certain types of insurance, including health, nursing care, and pension insurance. Other types of insurance, such as statutory accident insurance and unemployment insurance, are not covered.
The costs for insurance according to the Artists' Social Insurance Act (KSVG) depend on various factors (e.g. the respective income, the contribution rates of the various insurance branches, parental status yes or no, etc.). Here is an information sheet which provides you with some calculation examples.
Artists' social insurance is compulsory insurance. The point in time from which compulsory insurance begins depends on the date on which self-employment begins and the date of registration with the Artists' Social Insurance Fund (KSK). If you are already self-employed at the time of reporting, the insurance obligation generally begins at the earliest on the day of reporting to the KSK. If you have already requested the registration documents before starting work, the day on which you start self-employment is the earliest possible start of insurance.
How Can Influencers Ensure Smooth Collaboration with Employers?
Influencers should be encouraged to openly discuss their KSK membership status with their employer. This ensures that the employer that the influencer is eligible for KSK membership and of the KSK contribution that they are required to pay. This can help to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes related to payment and insurance coverage.
The KSK was created to recognize the contribution and creative work of artists and publicists as socially relevant and to give this type of freelancers access to statutory social insurance. As employers, gaining in-depth knowledge about the KSK not only aids in compliance but also nurtures a supportive environment for influencers to thrive.
Through KSK, influencers can access affordable social insurance, providing them financial stability, especially in their career’s early stages. Employers collaborating with creators play a crucial role, as they're mandated to contribute to the KSK fund, even if the influencers have personal insurance. This ensures the sustainability of the social security system for the entire artistic community. Open communication regarding KSK memberships between influencers and employers can avert misunderstandings, fostering a harmonious collaboration.
To get a deeper understanding of what the KSK is, you may visit the official website:
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