«We don’t give acting advice, but we do give advice on labour law and social security provision.»

Corona virus: Information for freelance artists / cancellations of performances

Dear SBKV members

This information is for freelance artists who enter into temporary contracts according to labour law.


Due to the special situation, please note that the following statements are only recommendations. In individual cases, the legal situation must be examined in detail.


Entitlement to continued payment of wages in the event of cancellations of ongoing productions (fixed-term employment contracts):

The termination of a temporary employment contract without notice is permitted for reasons that are not attributed to the fault of the employee; but only if the operational risk is not transferred to the employee in an inadmissible manner. According to Seco instructions, the risk lies with the employer in the event of a pandemic. The artists with temporary employment contracts are therefore entitled to continued payment of wages.

It also seems to prevail among legal experts that continued payment of wages is due in the case of temporary employment contracts even if a company has to close entirely due to government order.


Cancellation of planned productions:

If a planned production is cancelled at short notice so that the artists can no longer find other replacement engagements, we believe that the fee is still owed. Depending on the lead time, it is advisable to seek a settlement with the employer (at least partial fee payment).

As far as the deadline for cancellations subject to compensation is concerned, we cannot provide reliable information in this particular pandemic case. It will also depend on whether it was a short engagement (e.g. a single event) or a longer engagement (musical with a contract of 9 months). In the case of short commitments, we would scale the cancellation period that is still to be accepted without wage compensation to a few weeks. If a contract of several months is cancelled, a short-term cancellation leads to at least partial continued payment entitlement.

The affected members can contact the SBKV if they need advice; or they can contact their employers and express that with all due respect and sympathy for the current situation that they still expect to be payed the agreed fee.


Kind regards

Salva Leutenegger, Managing Director SBKV

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