Culture Minister says “tiny” number of workers making additional contribution

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The Minister of Culture said today that the “very small” number of potential beneficiaries of the activity suspension subsidy, foreseen in the Statute of the Professionals of the Culture Area, is due to the optional nature and additional contribution effort.

“(The culture worker) if he wants to make an additional contribution, about four percentage points above what self-employed workers are required. If you do so, this additional contribution qualifies for the subsidy to suspend activity,” said Pedro Adão e Silva, in a parliamentary hearing requested by the PCP and the Left Bloc (BE) on, respectively, support for the arts and the Statute of Professionals in the Cultural Area and delays in tenders to support projects of the Directorate General for the Arts.

The Minister of Culture confirmed that “the number of Culture workers who are making this additional contribution is tiny.

“We know from other examples in the Social Security context that the willingness of workers to make additional contributions, or individual savings mechanisms additional or complementary to those they are required by law, is always very low,” he said.

For Pedro Adão e Silva, “a system that has such a low level of ‘take up’ [execution] implies reflection.

“But the level of ‘take up’ is not about regulation, nor is it about Social Security. It has to do with the optional nature and the additional effort of the contribution. Very few workers are making this contribution, and that’s why there are no beneficiaries [of the activity suspension allowance]. And this implies a reflection and also implies some imagination in the type of design of the measure that we want,” he stated.

In the beginning of June, the structures that represent the workers of Culture considered it very serious that, a year and a half after the statute came into force, not a single allowance for suspension of activity had been paid.

“We were told that no subsidy has been paid yet, because the statute has yet to be regulated, more specifically on issues related to social security. Naturally we think that after a year and a half of the statute being implemented, it is very serious that things are still not working”, said the president of Plateia – Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Amarílis Felizes, to Pp, after a meeting with the supervisor.

Today, the Minister of Culture assumed that “in addition to these singularities of the applicable regime, there is an operational problem, which has several dimensions, in the Tax Authority and Social Security”, but insisted that “at the moment the explanation for not having beneficiaries” is that the number of workers who are making the additional contribution is “very small”.

On May 16, the seven structures met later, on June 2, with the Minister of Culture, in Lisbon, and denounced that the requests for suspension of activity by workers in the sector, which is provided for in the Statute of Professionals in the Cultural Area, were suffering delays “of several months” in payments or even no response to the requests.

They were assured that “they are on top of it, and that it [the problem] will be solved soon.

The Minister of Culture assured Parliament today that Social Security “has already been responding to the requests that have come in. “People have already been notified,” he said, pointing out that “most of the requests were from people who were not even registered in the statute, they applied for something and had not previously registered.”

“That process will take place, but the difficulty of response that has to do with the development of the platforms and the Social Security information system are no longer there,” he said.

This support is included in the statute long demanded by the sector and whose application came into force in a phased manner in 2022. Only as of October 1, 2022 were workers able to access this subsidy.

Pedro Adão e Silva defended today that “the specificities of work in Culture justify a different system”, but underlines that the country should not have a non-contributive system only for Culture workers.

“That is, if there are additional benefits for Culture workers, they have to be associated with a contributory effort. In this case there is a contributory regime with a contribution obligation for the beneficiaries of the service provision, but the contribution is optional for the workers,” he said.

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