2024 Recommended 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 recommended 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 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.

After 18 months of standstill Recommended Rates of Pay, SAU, are for the first time applying two different percentage increases to the recommended rates of pay.  An 8% increase to our New Graduate rate to match the percentage point of this year's Living Wage and 4% increase to artist with 3+ and 5+ years of experience.  (Earlier rates for 2023/24 are now in brackets). 

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.

N.B. Rates exclude the artist’s expenses for a specific project and VAT where relevant.


Hourly Rates 2024 

£28.30 per hour for a new graduate artist (previous rate £26.20).

£35.50 per hour for an artist with +3 years' experience (previous rate £34.00).

£44.00 per hour for an artist with +5 years' experience (previous rate £42.00).

Sessional Rates 2024

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 

£113.20  4-hour minimum call (previous rate £105.00).

£226.40  8-hour day rate (previous rate £210.00).


3+ Years' Experience 

£141.50  4-hour minimum call (previous rate £135.00).

£283.00  8-hour day rate (previous rate £270.00).


5+ Years' Experience 

£175.00  4-hour minimum call (previous rate £168.00).

£350.00  8-hour day rate (previous rate £336.00).

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 2024

These residency rates are guidelines aimed at organisations who offer artists' residencies, where the artist is solely focussing on their development for a period of time and are also in receipt of the other benefits that come with being on a residency.

They do not apply to self-organised development or individuals running freelance projects over a longer time period.

New Graduate Artist: £30,600 p/annum (pro-rata - see workings below)

5+ Years' Experience: £43,232 p/annum (pro-rata - see workings below) 


SAU's working formula (see below) states that 1152 hours is the optimum number of earning hours per year (24 hours x 48 weeks).  We can break down the 1152 hours into 'days per year' by dividing the 1152 by 8 (working hours per day), which gives us the equivalent of 144 optimum number of earning days per year.

e.g. Dividing the 5+ years of experience Residency rate of £43,232 by 144 days calculates the daily rate at £300.22.

So, if as an artist you are offered, or as an organisation you're offering, a Residency opportunity of a period of 20+ days then we recommend that the Residency Rate is calculated on a pro rata basis i.e. 20+ days @ £300.22 per day.

These Recommended Rates of Pay are provided for guidance purposes, as 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.

N.B. These rates can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Yours in Solidarity,

Executive Committee, Scottish Artists Union


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