WHERE TO GET ADVICE
For advice on employment rights and issues (such as contracts, redundancy, grievances, late payers, holiday pay, sickness, maternity and paternity leave), there are several organisations that provide lots of information:
Workline is a free and confidential service for UK film and television workers run by staff with years of human resource experience in the media. The website has lots of useful information and to deal with a specific issue, call (on 0844 500 8110) or email for advice. Please note they cannot provide advice on careers or finding work.
The BECTU website has lots of information about employment rights and what the law says. Some information is available to anyone; however, to get telephone or personal advice, or assistance with an issue, you must be a member of the union.
A government website with a huge amount of information on every aspect of working life, as well as information on lots of other subjects:
CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
There is a CAB near most people and they offer advice on pretty much everything. Contact them for specific advice, or go online for their indepth guides to employment rights:
BECTU has produced a pay rates guide to the going daily and weekly rates for make-up and hair personnel, covering television, feature films, commercials, corporate and pop promos.
For new entrants, trainees and those undertaking work experience, please go to careers advice for more information on the National Minimum Wage.
CONFIRM YOUR BOOKINGS IN WRITING
Getting a written contract from some companies can be tricky. Verbal agreements are legally binding, but it can be difficult to prove this in the event of having to go down the legal route to get your payment or to resolve another issue. BECTU strongly advises freelancers to issue a "confirmation of booking" letter, where you know, or suspect, that a company may not send you a contract.
For general advice on contracts and agreements, go to the website links below. BECTU members can also have contracts personally checked by BECTU for free - contact the union for more information:
PROFESSIONAL & PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE
Public liability insurance is designed to cover you and your business in the event of third party claims being made against you for negligence that have caused persons to suffer injury or illness as a result. It should also provide cover if you were out at a third parties' property and caused damage.
USEFUL LINKS AND CONTACTS
Helpline 0844 500 8110
Leave a clear message with all your contact details and they will call you back.
& TAX ADVICE
Helplines for workers in:
0191 419 8800 / 8813
0161 261 3254 / 3255 / 3691
For enquiries about expenses, 7 Day Rule, dispensations, employment status and special letters including Lorimer letters.
THE UK WORKING TIME REGULATIONS
The WTR state that all workers are entitled to a rest break of at least 11 continuous hours between work days i.e. from wrap time to the personal call time the following day. You are also entitled to a weekly rest break of 24 hours within each 7-day period, or a fortnightly rest period of 48 continuous hours within each 14-day period. The production can legitimately ask you to work into your break, but only for certain circumstances, and you are entitled to get this time back.
Workers cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours per week, though we know a working week in film and television is often much more than this. You agree to 'opt-out' and work more than 48 hours - this has to be in writing.
Long working hours can seriously damage health. There should be an informal arrangement within the department to ensure people get their breaks.
The above information is a guide only. For up-to-date information, go to the following external websites:
Your National Insurance contributions build up your entitlement to certain social security benefits, including the State Pension. The type and level of NI contributions you pay depends on how much you earn and whether you're employed or self-employed.
Tax can be a complex subject for many - the following guides may help to clarify the basics and your responsibilities as a freelancer:
E m p l oy m e n t R i g h t s
R a t e s o f P a y
W o r k i n g T i m e
C o n t r a c t s
N I & T a x
I n s u r a n c e
Your rights and responsibilities at work may seem like a minefield, but there's lots of free and confidential advice available. Protect yourself, your finances and your safety