National minimum wage

Jack Cooper
Actor

I have decided to still keep plugging away despite the poor pay as i love the business.One thing i need explained to me is how people can still advertise roles that require actors and the pay is "No Pay"surely this is illegal and the National Minimum Wage must apply?There is no such thing as a no budget production every production has some cost even if it is very small.Why is it generally the actors that work for zero pay?Are we not even worth the NMW?I would like actors even if they are not in a recognised Union to refuse "No Pay" jobs for the foreseeable future and i am sure you would see the rates very quickly rise to at least the National Minimum Wage


  • 8 years ago
  • 4,243
  • 16
Nigel Peever
Actor

As self employed people we are not entitled to it according to the gov.uk site.

https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage/who-gets-the-minimum-wage

cuts and pastes.

Not entitled to the minimum wage
The following types of workers aren’t entitled to the minimum wage:

self-employed people running their own business
company directors
volunteers or voluntary workers
workers on a government employment programme, eg the Work Programme
family members of the employer living in the employer’s home
non-family members living in the employer’s home who share in the work and leisure activities, are treated as one of the family and aren’t charged for meals or accommodation (eg au pairs)
workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16)
higher and further education students on a work placement up to 1 year
workers on government pre-apprenticeships schemes
people on the following European Union programmes: Leonardo da Vinci, Youth in Action, Erasmus, Comenius
people working on a Jobcentre Plus Work trial for 6 weeks
members of the armed forces
share fishermen
prisoners
people living and working in a religious community


  • 8 years ago
  • 1

But if you are working under the direction of somebody else who can in effect fire you, you will be deemed to be a "worker" for the purposes of the legislation.


  • 8 years ago
  • 2
Nigel Peever
Actor

Yes it's all horribly complicated sometimes you pay NI sometimes you pay Tax sometimes you don't.
The main thing is take what you can get and if it's not enough don't do it.
With transport, subscriptions, publicity materials etc etc NMW isn't enough most of the time anyway.


  • 8 years ago
  • 3

They are breaking the law if they don't pay NMW, it's very complicated.

Speak to Equity for the ins and outs, but professionals should always be paid. :)

Know your worth.


  • 8 years ago
  • 4
Guy Press
Actor

If there's no pay you can guarantee it's not insured either..... watch out for that!


  • 8 years ago
  • 5
Guy Press
Actor

If there's no pay you can guarantee it's not insured either..... watch out for that!


  • 8 years ago
  • 6
Lee Ravitz
Actor

Technically speaking, these assumptions aren't quite right, though it's easy to see where a wrong assumption applies. NMW *isn't* due to the self employed...but, as soon as an individual enters into contractual obligations, this changes. Actors are self employed (for tax purposes) but the union considers that they undertake jobs on the basis of contract. Equity hold that an actor is considered an employee of a company for the duration of their work contract (either written or verbal), and they are entitled to NMW, as any other employee would be. That many don't lay claim to the NMW and, so in a sense, 'waive' their right to it, is a different issue.

There was traditionally a 'grey area' surrounding whether Equity's claims could be upheld in a court of law - although the union always held that the following stipulations are enough to prove that an individual is not being taken on as a 'volunteer':

1. The individual is engaged to work set, specific patterns of hours (i.e. the actor is given a rehearsal schedule, and, even more importantly, a production schedule, which they have to adhere to)

2. The individual has been promised 'payment in kind' in return for their services (i.e. they have taken the job on *on condition* that, in lieu of pay, they will receive a copy of their own work)
3. The individual has been promised a 'reward' for engagement on the project (i.e. they have been promised that, if they undertake this unpaid trailer now, it will lead to their being cast in paying work in the future) etc.

What has been happening in recent months is that court rulings have definitively been showing that judges are siding with Equity's viewpoint, and supporting the actors' right to be owed NMW, on 'profit share' and student film productions.

Some companies have been moving towards paying NMW in consequence: it does not amount to a vast amount of money, and there may be false assumptions about how much is actually generated by NMW payments, but, for e.g. an 8 hour day of filming, it works out at about £60 a day.

Many companies continue to avoid paying NMW: there *are* loopholes here, some of which Equity supports in order that innovation can continue to flourish on the Fringe and that e.g. graduate companies are not hounded out of existence. The union maintains that an honest collaboration in which all financing and profits are shared equally does not, in law, constitute the creation of employer/employee status, and so is not subject to NMW.
Equity tends, of necessity, to end up fighting rearguard actions - which is to say that it's harder to force companies to comply with paying NMW in the first place than it is to encourage legal action to be taken against them afterwards. And, in fairness, the union have never been overly keen to establish the payment of NMW as some kind of benchmark replacement for payment at higher, union negotiated rates, for obvious reasons. But it shouldn't be thought that actors have no right to claim for NMW, as they do.


  • 8 years ago
  • 7

Of course, if you are a member of Equity, you are automatically insured, whatever the pay may be.
Thanks, Stephen, for clearing that "self employed" anomaly up - that's very helpful to know.
Cheers.
Sue


  • 8 years ago
  • 8
Lee Saunders
Actor

It is horrible to see so many unpaid JOBs. It's even worse when they come from production companies, shooting on a Red. Okay, students may be an exception, but I believe they should at the very least contribute an agreed fixed sum in order to cover expenses plus a bit more. I don't see why producers believe the actors are worthless. I mean, without the actors, what's the use of a camera and crew budget?

I think many producers see actors as hobbyists not businesses, and nothing more.

You could try auditioning for this free work, but if you get selected, then drop the bombshell. If they REALLY want YOU, they may cough up their beer money.


  • 8 years ago
  • 9

For all of your information, just in case you didn't know, on 1 October 2013 the NMW rises from £6.19 to £6.31 per hour, so don't forget to invoice for the increased amount!
Sue


  • 8 years ago
  • 10
Guy Press
Actor

@ Sue RE: Insurance

Your Equity insurance is indemnity against you injuring someone else.

If a production has no insurance and you are injured on it you will have no recourse to Equity's Insurance only their legal dept to sue for damages.

This is major as even Film Schools operate under the insurance banner.


  • 8 years ago
  • 11
Lee Saunders
Actor

I always thought actors were skilled workers, not unskilled workers. Why are actors deemed to be only worth the NMW? Greed.


  • 8 years ago
  • 12
User Deleted
This profile has been archived

Hi everyone, just wondering what is equity minimum for a TV commercial only 3 weeks usage?
On the day of the shoot the producer gave me the release form, it turned out it was a TV commercial rather than an online viral. I consented to go on filming but I didn't sign it, very unpleasant. Any thoughts greatly appreciated. Thank you.


  • 8 years ago
  • 13
Lee Saunders
Actor

Gabriel,

Perhaps you should have clarified the details before you consented to filming. Verbal agreements are just as binding as written ones. You may have to follow up with the director, preferably in writing, informing him/her that you do not give your permissions for your images etc to be use on TV broadcasts of any kind, and that usage is limited to online distribution only, as per the initial job description.

Maybe you should have just walked away. If they are not honest, why should you be, and open yourself up to more dishonesty in the future?


  • 8 years ago
  • 14
Jason Bruce
Actor

If the production company tell you when to work, (Ie you can't just decide not to do a show,) and if the contract says you can't take other employment if it could affect their production, you are a worker and there for you wage must cover National minimum wage, plus holiday pay.(and the easiest way to calculate this is to add 12.07%) meaning you should actually be just under £10 an hour at the moment.


  • 5 months ago
  • 15
You must login as a candidate to participate in the forum.
Please note: Messages written in the forum do not represent the views of The Mandy Network, nor have they been vetted by The Mandy Network staff. If you read something which you believe to be offensive or defamatory, please contact us and we will take the appropriate action.