“The culture budget choices are clearly directed toward the future. Cultural workers will receive the salary increase they’ve been expected for several years, and thereby the security they need to continue working in their professions. We have initiatives that will help children and young people develop the habit of participating in culture and sports. These are conscious choices that confirm that our culture budget is look far into the future and maintaining consistency,” said Minister of Culture Anneli Ott.
The draft budget provides for a salary increase of €2.8 million for cultural workers, thereby increasing the national minimum wage for cultural workers by 7.5% to €1,400. Some of the additional money, i.e., 2% of the salary fund, will be directed to the employees whose salary is already exceed the minimum.
“It is very important for the minimum wage to be increased after a pause of a few years. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the top people in their fields, whose wages are, of course, higher than the national minimum. The trade unions have approved the distribution of funds and await the adoption of the state budget,” the minister confirmed.
Remuneration principles are discretionary for all the institutions active in the cultural sector, regardless of their administrative jurisdiction or ownership. Included are full-time cultural workers with a higher education or higher professional qualification or a position requiring specific knowledge. An agreement of mutual intent will be signed by the Ministry of Culture and the Estonian Employees' Unions' Confederation (TALO) at the end of the year, once the draft state budget has been enacted into law by the Riigikogu. The minimum gross salary of a cultural worker is currently €1,300 per month.
In the 2022 draft budget, support for filmmaking from the state budget will increase by €2 million. In the earlier version, €5 million had already been allocated. A more detailed breakdown of the funding in the film field is being drawn up by the Estonian Film Institute.
“Domestic film production is extremely important because it reflects Estonian life and tells stories about us that no one except us will tell. It’s a question of creating a cultural memory,” the minister emphasised. “Stability in film financing provides even greater opportunities for planning co-productions. In addition to being very international, the film industry has a clear regional dimension. Films are made throughout Estonia and those who benefit from the value chains can be located anywhere in Estonia,” Ott added.
The culture budget includes €1 million for initiating the new culture backpack initiative agreed upon in the coalition agreement. This will be implemented in cooperation with the schools and local governments, and the exact details will be developed in the next few months.
“As the cultural budget is clearly forward-looking, the focus is on children and young people. Developing the habit of attending cultural events begins at a very young age, but unfortunately, not all young people are able to go to the theatre or cinema, visit a museum or attend art exhibitions. The culture backpack initiative will equalise regional differences in access to culture,” said Ott.
In addition, the culture budget provides €600,000 for the promotion of physical activity as well as €400,000 to support the learning of Estonian by adults. In addition, the draft state budget includes funding for Estonian cultural research and development activities and other needs affecting the development of the cultural field.