2021 Rates of Pay

The Scottish Artists Union has from its inception been concerned with establishing recognised national standards in artists’ contracts and payments, as it is often difficult for artists to quantify the value of their work. We have therefore prepared some typical rates of pay which members may wish to use as a guide when negotiating payment for their work on short - term contracts, sessional work and residencies that are paid on a self-employed status basis.

The Scottish Artists Union is conscious that the economic climate remains difficult it is however important that it continues to promote an appropriate increase in the typical rates of pay we recommend. We are therefore applying an increase of 3% to all our previous hourly rates, our daily rates from 2020 and a proportionate increase to our residency rates. This matches the percentage point increase of this year’s Living Wage.


Rates of Pay 2021

Rates of Pay should apply to a wide range of freelance and short contract employment from consultancy work, project planning and development, to all aspects of workshop delivery (set up, execution, clear up) and other freelance activity.

Please Note. Rates exclude the artist’s expenses for a specific project and VAT where relevant. We have rounded up the rates to the nearest £0.05/£0.10.


Hourly Rates 2021 

£23.00 per hour for a new graduate artist.

£30.70 per hour for an artist with +3 years' experience.

£37.85 per hour for an artist with +5 years' experience.


Sessional Rates 2021

Day rates are based on an 8-hour day, minimum ‘call’ is for a 4-hour session. Additional hours over 8-hours should be at a minimum of the appropriate hourly rate (see above). Consideration should be made for additional/overtime hours in any given day - for example (Rates of Pay x 1.5) for additional hours or (Rates of Pay x 2.0) for out of normal hours/weekends/holidays. 

New Graduate Artist 2021 

4-hour minimum call - £92.00 

8-hour day rate - £184.00


3+ Years' Experience 2021 

4-hour minimum call - £122.80 

8-hour day rate - £245.60


5+ Years' Experience 2021 

4-hour minimum call - £151.40 

8-hour day rate - £302.80 

These variations in rates relate to qualifications/experience, which is defined by ‘years as a working artist,' and would be evidenced by a professional CV, indicating the artist’s records and/or unique attributes.


Residency Rates 2021 

New Graduate Artist: £25,758 p/annum (pro-rata)

5+ Years' Experience: £37,790 p/annum (pro-rata)

All residencies should be calculated on a pro-rata basis where the residency is of 20+ working days. The variations in rates relate to qualifications/experience as above.


These Typical Rates of Pay are provided for guidance purposes, artists are at all times free to negotiate rates of pay different to those set out above. Rates assume appropriate professional conduct by the Artist.

The Scottish Artists Union encourages all artists and those who wish to contract artists, to make use of this information. Please contact us directly, if you have any questions or comments.

A PDF version of this information with last years rates included is available here.


Yours in Solidarity,

Executive Committee, Scottish Artists Union

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