Condition of Employment for Freelancers in Journalism in Northern Germany
Under what conditions do journalists work for public service broadcasters?
The conditions for employee-like persons working for public service broadcasters are regulated in detail by collective agreements. Against this backdrop, we examined in an explorative study how media organisations in Northern Germany handle the employment of freelancers and what regulations besides collective agreements play a role in doing so. Therefore, we carried out a literature research and conducted expert interviews with representatives of media organisations and trade unions.
A collective agreement for employee-like freelancers seem to exist only at public service broadcasters and daily newspapers. However, at newspapers, not all areas are covered since not all contracts can be represented by the publishers’ association in collective agreements. Company benefits are not provided for. Labour disputes such as suits for permanent positions, as there have been in the past, have become the exception. In order to avoid the impression of a false self-employment, companies ensure that working hours are limited, so that a task is reasonable for multiple clients; limiting the tenure is not required. From a corporate point of view, being covered by the artists’ social insurance is an advantage because the insurance has to examine the self-employment of the insured person.
The rights of use granted for provided contributions and their compensation could cause conflicts. In accordance with § 32 UrhG [German Copyright Law], a claim for appropriate compensation also exists – even if there is no collective agreement. On that point, joint remuneration rules between publisher association and trade unions have been established for daily newspapers. However, the scope of the agreements is controversial and the enforceability is uncertain in individual cases.
Research programme: RP3 - Knowledge for the Media Society