Arts Workers in California: Creating a More Inclusive Social Contract to Meet Arts Workers' and Other Independent Contractors' Needs

Arts Workers in California: Creating a More Inclusive Social Contract to Meet Arts Workers' and Other Independent Contractors' Needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of independent contractors, including many artists, without access to social insurance programs and worker protections, a report from the Urban Institute finds. Commissioned by the Center for Cultural Innovation, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the report, Arts Workers in California: Creating a More Inclusive Social Contract to Meet Arts Workers' and Other Independent Contractors' Needs (79 pages, PDF), found that 35 percent of workers in the arts and cultural sector in California are self-employed and do contract or "gig" work. The report also found that arts workers are more likely than workers in other sectors to be employed in non-standard arrangements that offer lower pay, carry a higher risk of nonpayment and income volatility, and provide little or no access to worker protections and social insurance programs. As a result, arts workers in the state were hit especially hard by the pandemic. The report offers a framework for a social contract that provides greater economic security in the form of more robust unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, and paid leave policies; improvements in anti-discrimination, health and safety, and wage and hour protections; and an increase in collective bargaining arrangements.

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October 13, 2020