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Laws and regulations governing the work of artists
a) Employment and working conditions:
Employment in the cultural field is regulated by:
- the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1995)
- the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (February 1999)
- the Law on Employment of the Republic of Azerbaijan (July 2001)
- the Law on Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan (April 1998)
b) Social welfare (health insurance, occupational accidents, disability, unemployment and pensions):
The Law on Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan (16 April 1998), Law on Social insurance (18 February 1999), Law on medical insurance (26 June 1997), Law on pension guarantee for citizens (23 September 1992), Law on prevention of disability, rehabilitation and social protection of disabled people (25 August 1995), Law on healthcare of the people (26 June 1997); the Presidential decrees on additional measures on social aid (n°547, 1992), On realization the complex program on the issues of disabled people (decree of the Cabinet of Ministers, n°185, 1994), on financing the measures of social security, pensions and allocations for disabled, unemployed people (Presidential decree n°76, 2002,), On the measures towards improving the state pension system (the Presidential decree n°908, 2003), On increasing pensions (Presidential decree n°909, 2003), On the wage augmentation for 50% of artists (Presidential Decree from 2003). The Law on Culture also provides social security measures for creative workers.
Training in the cultural field is regulated by:
- the Law on Education (7 October 1992);
- the Presidential decree on the release refugees and IDP from paying educational fees in the high and secondary special institutions (n°1308, 2003)
- the Presidential decree on increasing the wages of the workers of the educational institutions funding from the state budget (n°276, 1999)
- the Presidential decree on the increasing the wages of the workers of the educational institutions (n°1228 from 2003).
There are special provisions on culture and for artist in the most abovementioned laws, which are common to all workers.
Working conditions of artists including disabled artists
Generally, the Ministry of Social Protection of Labour and People and the State Labour Inspection attached to the Ministry and the State Social Protection Fund are responsible for issues concerning working conditions of employees, including artists and disabled people
Work permit or “professional” status
According to the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan everyone has a right to labour. Everyone can choose any specialty, occupation, activity and job on the basis of their ability and skills. Some rights have been declared in another normative act – the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In addition, the right of foreigners and non-citizens are equalled to the citizens’ rights. According to the law, everybody can be engaged in any activity not prohibited by law and they don’t need any permit. Both normative acts are common for their characters and equally applied to all.
Despite the fact that the definition of artist has been envisaged in the Law on Culture from 1998 (art. 44), there is no “professional” status for them.
Health care system
Generally, relations on the sphere of people’s health care are adjusted on the basis of adopted normative acts (the Law on healthcare of the people of 1997, the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Law on social insurance of 1999). These documents are general and apply to all workers. If a person falls ill and/or disabled, he/she can pretend to medical social aid. The medical-social aid can be supplied by public institutions and non-state healthcare systems, as well as by the social security systems. The citizens provide with medical assistance in the basis of compulsory medical insurance in medical institutions.
In addition, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a decree on determining wage increases for people who work in places where climate and working conditions are hard and injurious. According to this decree, certain percent is added to the salary depending on the level of seriousness of the harm. Such provision is also foreseen in the law on Culture. Augmentation in 20% is intended for the employees of two institutions where working conditions are considered as harmful and difficult:
- the Scientific-reconstruction centre of museum wealth and memorial things;
- the State carpet and applied art museum attached to the Ministry of Culture
Furthermore, there are some policlinics, which serve members of the creative unions.
Private healthcare systems
There are also private healthcare systems except for the state healthcare system. Artists have access to these systems on the basis of common conditions as an every citizen of the country.
There is no special regime for disabled artists. All measures taken for healthcare protection of disabled people are also applied to the disabled artists.
The State Labour Inspection, attached to the Ministry of Labour and Social Defense of Population, carries out the inspections of working conditions. The State Labour Inspection controls the realization of the requirements on working conditions, payment, working relations, employment, security, social and personal insurance and the implementation of the provisions of the legislation on medical, social and material welfare. The State Labour Inspection carries out expertise of working conditions and controls the paying of the augmentation to the employees that work in such places. Accidents resulted in death or serious injury of employee, are investigated by the State Labour Inspection.
According to the legislation, the State Labour Inspection orders the directors of the establishments to carry out the inspections, the aim of which is to reduce harmful working conditions. In some cases and if it is not respected, the activity of such institutions can be ceased. Where these requirements are not respected, the directors of the institutions and establishments are subject to punishment by fine, pursuant to the Code on Administrative Violations, the Labour Code, etc.
The Law on social insurance was adopted in 1999 and is applied equally to all workers. According to the law, there are 2 forms of insurance systems:
· the state social insurance
· the voluntary/additional insurance
The compulsory state social insurance applies to all employees working under a contract.
The following insurance regimes exist: to reach the retirement age, to become disabled, to loose the head of family, to become temporally disabled, pregnancy and maternity, to take care on child, death, need in treatment in resort. The compulsory state social insurance is taken over all these regimes, but on the basis of his/her own wish, a citizen can take voluntary/additional insurance on one or some of these regimes.
On the basis of the abovementioned insurance regimes, certain coverage is paid (pensions, over-payment to pensions on the basis of voluntary insurance). According to the state programs, the measures related to social welfare of disabled and unemployed people are funded by the state social insurance system.
Complementary insurance schemes
Pursuant to the law on social insurance, there is also voluntary or additional insurance form apart from the state compulsory insurance system. The citizens, non-citizens, foreigners, institutions and agencies have a right of voluntary (additional) social insurance. This form of social insurance is present throughout the Social Welfare Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan who administers the state compulsory social insurance system, the State Firm “AZERSIGORTA” and private insurance companies. The private insurance companies carry out all other social insurance coverage, except for state pensions. In this event, social coverage is taken on the insurance regimes that the parties have chosen.
Administration of contributions
The Social Welfare Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan administers the state social insurance system. The Social Welfare Fund:
· manages the means of the compulsory social insurance
· determines the rules of gathering the payments on compulsory social insurance
· imposes sanctions to the rule-beakers
· registers the insurers on the compulsory social insurance.
The voluntary or additional social insurance is taken by the Social Welfare Fund, as well as by the private insurance companies.
The minimum level of payment
The minimum level of payment per month is 60 000 manats (approx. 10,2 US $). Pursuant to the Labour Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, wages can be paid directly and by bank transfer, according to the wish of the employee.
Unemployment insurance scheme
The Labour Code, the Law on Employment and the decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers regulate the judicial relations related to unemployment. These laws and decrees are general and apply to all citizens.
According to the law on Employment, the citizens registered as unemployed in the corresponding executive body can obtain the status of unemployed (the Head Directorate on Employment of the Ministry of Labour and Social Defense of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan and its local bodies). The allowances for unemployment cannot be paid more than 26 weeks (6,5 months) during 12 months. Unless a citizen is provided with a job during 12 months as he/she gets a status of unemployed, he/she has a right to repeated allowance. Allowances for unemployment are paid in minimum amount of the allowance approved.
The allowance for unemployment is defined in 70 % of the average salary.
Administration of the unemployment insurance scheme
The Head Directorate on Employment of the Ministry of Labour and Social Defense of Population and its local bodies deal with registering the citizens as unemployed, giving the status of unemployed and paying the allowances.
Source: Government of Azerbaijan, August 2004.