How Much Should I Be Paid?

We thought it would be a good idea to show the minimum you should be paid per hour. Holiday pay should be paid at the end of your contract for any untaken holiday, and on a casual engagement it should be added to the rate.

NMW Rates have been updated as of 1st April 2020

More detail

The government website has more details about NMW, employment rights for interns and work experience, as well as working as an intern and as an apprentice (they are NOT the same thing). (Apprentice holiday pay is not shown above as the rate is different from Workers).

See also You And The Minimum Wage

A second email from Bob Shennan at the BBC

Supporting freelance and fixed term colleagues through this challenging period
This message is being sent to all freelancers with a current or recent BBC contract

Hi everyone,

I want to start by thanking you all for supporting each other and helping us to provide vital services during this challenging time. Earlier in the week, we, along with other PSBs, contacted the UK Chancellor to ask the Government to support our critically important freelance community. I wrote to you last week and wanted to follow up on the support we plan to provide for our vital fixed term and freelance workforce. 

Supporting freelance and fixed term colleagues
We hire temporary employees on fixed term contracts as well as engaging on and off-air freelancers. Some freelancers are paid through our payroll and are often referred to as ‘PAYE freelancers’ or ‘casual workers’. We also engage self-employed freelancers who are paid on a gross basis. The majority of our freelancers and fixed term colleagues are fully occupied supporting our continuing output and their jobs are not at risk as a result of COVID-19. However, unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, we have had to postpone or cancel some productions. We know that is creating insecurity and anxiety and our first priority is to try and redeploy our people where we can, recognising that is not always possible.

What support will be available?
We have listened to the concerns of our freelance and fixed term colleagues, as has the UK Government. Following on from the support announced by the Government, we are also putting in place a series of measures that provide support to our fixed term workers as well as our freelance workforce, both PAYE and Self-Employed.The measures we are offering will provide:·         

Income protection against any loss of work due to Covid-19 – this wouldn’t apply to contracts that end for other reasons.·         

Sick pay cover.·         Wellbeing support.

What it means for each group
As we engage people differently, these measures will apply in different ways depending on the types of engagement. We have outlined below how they will apply to fixed-term colleagues, PAYE and Self-Employed freelancers.The Government has provided two schemes, one for PAYE workers and one for the self-employed to ensure that people in each of these groups can access up to 80% of their earnings up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. The schemes are similar but are accessed in different ways. As the schemes were only announced yesterday, we are seeking clarity on some of the details.

If you are on a fixed term contract and joined the BBC before 28th February§  With funding support from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the BBC plans to pay either 100% of your pay or £3,000 per month for the remaining period of your contract up to a maximum of 3 months – whatever is the lesser amount. This will be effective from the 1st March 2020.§  You are also eligible for full BBC sick pay and have access to our wellbeing support services (counselling and remote GP service) under your current contract.

If you are a PAYE freelancer and joined the BBC before 28th February§  With funding support from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the BBC plans to pay either 100% of your pay or £3,000 per month for the remaining period of your contract up to a maximum of 3 months – whatever is the lesser amount. This will be effective from the 1st March 2020.§  You are entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay if you are ill and we will top this up to 2 weeks full pay if you are sick while engaged to work for us.§  By the end of next week we will also provide additional support with access to our Employee Assistance Programme which offers a range of support including telephone advice, counselling sessions and access to our remote GP services.

If you are a self-employed freelancer (paid Gross pay without deductions for tax and NI)§  Yesterday, the Chancellor announced an income support scheme for the self-employed. If you are eligible you will receive a cash grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profit over the last three years for the three month period from 1st March. This will be paid to you on application through HMRC. §  We are expecting details of how this scheme will operate in the next few days. We will publish this for you as soon as we have it and we are exploring the ways that we will be able to supplement this scheme. 

Covid-19 Support FundWe understand that the Government support may not be available until June for self-employed freelancers, and know that may leave some people without an income in the meantime. To help, we have also set up a central fund for freelancers who are adversely impacted by Covid-19. The fund is available to support self- employed freelancers who have, or would have had, booked engagements with the BBC Group between March and June. Payments made from the fund would be offset against future work and we’ll share further details of how to access the fund next week.Next stepsWe hope the proposals we have set out will help support you at this difficult time. They are complex and the mechanism for accessing payments is in the process of being developed. We are also waiting for more guidance from the Government about how their income support schemes will operate.  Because of that, we do not have all the answers right now to the many questions that you will have. I hope you will bear with us as we understand more and develop our proposals in detail. We will continue working on this detail and get back to you as soon as possible. If you have a question about the Government’s support schemes, you can access more information here.We are developing additional supporting materials and frequently asked questions.  In the meantime, you can share your queries about the support the BBC is providing, here.  

Thank you

Thank you for everything you are doing to support our audiences and each other at this difficult time. We are here to support all of you.

Bob

Bob Shennan
Managing Director

[Message clipped]  View entire message

Some extremely useful guidance to the whole furloughing business (and lots of other financial matters)

Reproduced with kind permission from Jane Merkin.

This is my summary of The TV Mindset’s webinar with David Thomas on
28.3.20, with some additional information kindly provided by a Chief Operating Officer.

This is my summary of The TV Mindset’s webinar with David Thomas on 28.3.20, with some additional information kindly provided by a Chief Operating Officer.

DEFINITIONS OF TAX STATUS

1. PAYE Freelancer: you will be moving between short contracts in a company and are effectively paid as an employee, even though you will not receive some employee rights. Your employer will be responsible for deducting tax and NI and you will not complete a tax return on PAYE income;

2. Self-employed Sole Trader: If you are registered with HMRC as Schedule D you are also considered a Sole Trader. You will invoice for your work and are required to complete an annual tax return. You will be taxed on your profit and NOT your turnover – ie your profit will be your turnover minus legitimate business expenses;

3. Limited Company: You will be an employee of your company, even if you are the sole director and will receive PAYE income from that company. Usually this is a very small amount for tax reasons. The company will receive payment from whoever you work for and is able to then pass that on to you as a dividend at various points throughout the year. The company will pay corporation tax and as a recipient of dividends, you will complete a tax return and be liable for the tax on that income.

TAKE STOCK

Now is the time to look at your finances and cashflow.

1. Assess your current situation

2. Project your spending and any known income and identify any gaps between your expenditure and your income. Use the very handy spreadsheet that David has on his website

3. Investigate what support is available – from the new schemes introduced by the Government in the past few days, as well as from unions and other bodies

NEW GOVERNMENT SCHEMES

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

1. This was announced on Thursday for people who are Sole Traders. NB it is possible for people to be partnerships of more than 1 Sole Trader

2. It is open to Sole Traders whose annual PROFITS, averaged over 3 years of tax returns (2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018 – 19), are less than £50,000 – ie if your average profits are £49,999.99 you are eligible, but if your average profits are £50,000.00 you are not.

3. This is based on your profits and NOT your turnover

4. You need to have been trading for at least 1 year (ie 2018-19) and submitted a tax return for that period.

5. If you are late in filing your tax return (tsk tsk), you have FOUR weeks to submit it.

6. If you have only submitted for 1 or 2 years (ie 2018-19 or 2017-18 and 2018-19), HMRC will calculate the average across those years

7. You will be entitled to a taxable grant of 80% of the average profits to a maximum of £2500 for 3 months. This will be paid as a single lump sum, probably in June

8. HMRC will contact everyone who can benefit from this scheme directly with details of how to apply. PLEASE be aware that there may be unscrupulous scammers who will try and exploit this situation so only respond to a bona-fide email – HMRC will never ask for personal banking information as they will already hold these details.

9. Even if you intend to use (or are using when it comes in) this scheme you can apply for Universal Credit but any income from this scheme will affect what you will receive through UC (more detail on UC later)

10. The tax which would ordinarily be due to be paid on 31st July 2020 can be deferred until January 2021

11. If you are VAT registered, and have a VAT payment due between 20th March and 30th June 2020 you have the option to either pay the VAT due as normal or defer to a later date. You will not be charged interest penalties on any amount deferred but you must pay the VAT due on or before 31st March 2021. If you normally pay by Direct Debit you should cancel your Direct Debit as soon as you can either directly with your bank or through online banking. After the VAT deferral ends, VAT payments due will need to be paid as normal. Information about how to repay the VAT you’ve deferred will be available soon. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties, more help is available from HMRC’s “Time to Pay” scheme.

12. Use the spreadsheet on David’s website to automatically calculate your average profits and the 80% taxable grant that you will receive. It currently is not set up for those with less than 3 years’ worth of tax returns but he will address that asap.

13. Sole Traders can also apply for Business Interruption Loans which are available through any bank (not necessarily your own although if you are a customer I suspect you will be considered more kindly!) which are 0% interest loans. But these are currently only loans and will need to be repaid.

14. Sole Traders often have what is called “lumpy profits” – ie not regular amounts. If you had time off in the last 3 years, the Government is trying to find a solution to this and the scheme will be tweaked.

15. If you have only recently set up as a Sole Trader, you are currently not eligible for this scheme, but if you are going to submit a tax return for 2019 – 2020, given that the tax year ends on 5th April 2020, it is worth submitting your return asap as this will provide evidence to the HMRC that you are a Sole Trader and as things wash out, you may be entitled to be considered for this scheme

Benefits

1. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

a) You can apply for this if you are sick or self-isolating

b) It is NOT means-tested and covers basic living costs

c) You will need to have paid two years of NI contributions

d) Apply by phone 0800 3285644

e) It is paid fortnightly in arrears at £73/week

2. Universal Credit

a) It is available for households whose income has gone down

b) It is means-tested. If you have £6000 in savings, the money on offer reduces incrementally to nothing if you have £16,000 or over

c) It contains elements if you have children and help with rent

d) You apply online and then will have a telephone interview

e) It is paid monthly in arrears or fortnightly in arrears in Scotland

f) Approximate maximums range are £300/month for single under-25 year olds, £400/month singles over 25 and £550 for couples where 1 is over 25. If you’re both under 25 – what were you thinking?! (seriously, don’t know the figure but check the Government website)

g) The advice is to get into the UC system if you qualify. Don’t worry if you will be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as the UC will adjust when that is paid.

h) If you need it, UC can give an advance within days of being approved, otherwise it takes an average of 5 weeks before the first payment arrives.

Job Retention Scheme

1. This is for anyone who was being paid as PAYE (ie on a company’s payroll), whether as permanent staff or on a fixed-term contract on 28th February 2020. If you were not contracted on 28th February you are NOT eligible for this scheme.

2. Companies designate employees as “furloughed workers” who are then not allowed to generate any income for that company.

3. HMRC reimburse the employer with 80% of an employee’s wages to a maximum of £2500 for 3 months

4. NI contributions and a minimum level of any auto-enrolled pension scheme will be paid, initially by the company but HMRC will reimburse both.

5. HMRC are in the process of setting up an online portal for employers to use and the scheme can be backdated to 1st March 2020.

6. If you were on the payroll on 28th February and either the company terminated your contract because of the Coronavirus OR your contract came to its natural end after that date, your employer could extend your contract or rescind the termination. It would be at almost no cost to the company as HMRC would reimburse wages etc as above – the only cost would be for the company to administer this. But it is for the company to keep you on their payroll.

7. Pressure IS being brought to bear on indies by all sorts of bodies to follow this practice and there is a real moral imperative for them to do so. The advice is that you should approach the company that you were working for and ask to be taken back onto their books. There is a real understanding that it might be difficult for an individual to approach a company and request this but do remember that the people who run these companies are having to deal with many of the same things as you and are likely to be sympathetic.

8. You may need to patient with indies if you approach them as this is a very new scheme and everyone is unsure how it will operate. It’s very complex and particularly small indies will face huge issues of cash flow but do be assured that this is being explored 24/7.

9. If the indie refuses on the grounds that they had already issued a P45 and they cannot rescind it, you can confidently tell them that this is contrary to the

advice on the HMRC website and there is an explanation available on what they need to do in order to put you back on the payroll.

10. If you were employed by the BBC on a PAYE contract on 28th February which was either terminated or came to a natural end after that date, you should contact whoever was your line manager and ask to be taken back onto the books. I’ve seen an email in which those employed on PAYE contracts have been told they will be eligible for this scheme to a maximum of £3000, which is a move to be applauded. Presumably the BBC are making up the £500 above what is being offered by the Government from their own coffers.

11. If you are furloughed from a company you may still be entitled to work, just not for that company.

12. If the company at which you were working on 28th February has gone into administration, contact the administrators to request to be put back on their books and furloughed as administrators have a legal obligation to pay employees.

Limited Companies

1. Under the Job Retention Scheme you can furlough yourself, even if you are a director, and receive 80% of any salary paid to you as an employee, although this is likely to be very small

2. Any dividends which you are paid by your company will NOT be considered as income under the Job Retention Scheme.

3. You can apply for a Business Interruption Scheme through any bank at 0% interest but remember this is a LOAN.

4. If your company is VAT registered, the same conditions apply as outlined under Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Item 11

Any Other Business

I understand that some of you will have questions after reading this and I wish I could answer them, but this is all the information that I currently have. Read this document carefully and you may well find the answer. Adrian and Benetta are working incredibly hard on numerous issues – please don’t take their attention away from those.

If you fall through any of the gaps DO NOT DESPAIR, DO NOT PANIC! This is an evolving situation and the Government’s intention seems to be to help as many people as possible but the differences in people’s employment makes it a very complex task. They have attempted to help the biggest group first – employees – now the self-employed. What’s important is to keep reminding them that you are outside these new schemes.

There is more here too.

Press Coverage

UK’s Covid-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund launches as 93% of freelancers now out of work
Screen Daily

Covid-19 Relief Fund donations hit £2.5m
Broadcast

‘Forgotten Freelancers’ Highlighted in U.K. Campaign for Coronavirus Financial Support
Variety

Super-indies commit to freelancer support
Broadcast

WFTV UK: 96% of members have lost income
Broadcast

Freelancer latest: blow as 28 February cut-off remains
Broadcast

PSBs issue joint plea to government for freelancer support
Broadcast

Broadcasters and Pact unite for freelancer masterplan
Broadcast

ITV execs take coronavirus pay cut
Broadcast

The freelance conundrum
Broadcast

Coronavirus support loophole leaves many UK film and TV staff without pay, say MPs
The Guardian

Sky chief donates salary to Covid-19 charities
Broadcast

Coronavirus: Two million with some self-employment income will not benefit from government support scheme, IFS warns
Independent

Millions in UK ‘could slip through virus wage safety net’
The Guardian

Pact: indies cannot afford to furlough freelancers
Broadcast

U.K. Government Faces Pressure From Industry on Economic Measures for Freelancers
Variety

Hard hit freelancers to receive support from industry
The Location Guide

Freelancers: are you entitled to support?
Broadcast

Gaps in coronavirus support for business need to be filled
Institute of Directors

Chancellor’s coronavirus bailout ignores many self-employed
The Guardian

Bectu: government excluding half of TV’s freelancers
Broadcast

The self-employed will struggle during this pandemic
The Guardian

Coronavirus support loophole leaves workers without pay
Sky News

PAYE freelancers fall between cracks for government help
Televisual

Self-employed paid in dividends to miss out on Rishi Sunak’s bailout package
The Telegraph

Coronavirus: Thousands call on government to amend ‘huge oversight’ in job retention scheme as workers face being laid off across UK
The Independent

Unions press Treasury on freelancers left in limbo
Broadcast

Things are not good for freelancers now, but there is reason for hope
Red Shark News

Creative industries left out of self-employed support
FT

BBC donates £500K to Covid-19 Fund
Broadcast

BBC announce £700,000 donation to help freelancers in TV and film out of work because of Coronavirus
Metro

Indies challenged to help freelancers
Broadcast

Freelancers raise risk of falling through cracks
Broadcast

Ian Katz reaches out to freelance community
Broadcast

C4 warns indies: we may not cover coronavirus costs
Broadcast


Production companies support for freelancers in our industry.

**NB Note that despite signing this (below), Sarah Murch of Blakeway North refused to furlough PAYE freelancers who could have received financial support during the coronavirus shutdown**

The Garden Productions has been coordinating an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, signed by 224 TV production company bosses at 118 companies, and a further 90 individuals. This is what they sent:

24th March 2020

Dear Chancellor,

We’re aware of the extraordinary pressure you’re under in these unprecedented times. And we are grateful – as employers – for the measures you’ve already taken to help companies like ours weather the storm and protect staff jobs. But we’re writing to ask you to do more to extend that protection to the part of our workforce who find themselves uniquely vulnerable in this moment: freelancers and the self-employed.

In our industry – television – freelancers make up a huge proportion of the people we work with. British television’s global success and reputation would be utterly impossible without them. These are not optional or peripheral roles, but some of the most important jobs and some of the most talented people in the sector. And yet at a time when so much production has come to a halt simultaneously, they find themselves suddenly without work and almost entirely excluded from the protective measures that cover their peers. Many are facing real economic distress and personal hardship at an already deeply unsettling time.

Swift measures to bring financial aid to those who have lost income are vital – both on a human level and to ensure that this part of the country’s creative industries stands a chance of recovery once the crisis has passed. We’re aware that we are among many making this argument on behalf of the self-employed, and we note the comments of your ministerial colleagues about your willingness to keep reviewing the situation and see if there are further steps you can take. In this case, we would strongly urge that you do so.

Yours sincerely

Jaimie D’Cruz, Rodney Brooks and Evie Buckley – Acme Films
Matt Richards, Ian Cundall and Andy Joynson – Air TV
Ed Stobart – Alleycats Films
James Burstall and Laura Bessell – Argonon Group
Tom Brisley, Iain Pelling and John Smithson – Arrow International Media
Jane Kelly & Philip McGovern – Big Mountain Productions
Kenton Allen and Matthew Justice – Big Talk Productions
Sarah Murch – Blakeway North
Ed Coulthard, Claire Bosworth, David Hodgkinson, James O’Reilly – Blast! Films
Dan Chambers and Justine Kershaw – Blink Films
Nick Godwin and Tom Porter – BriteSpark Films
Richard Tulk-Hart – Buccaneer Media
Dinah Lord – Caravan Media
Jodi Shields, Jenne Casarotto & Ian Devlin – Casarotto Ramsay and Associates Ltd
Hannah Chambers – Chambers Management Ltd
Sophie Gardiner – Chapter One Pictures
Jake Cassels and Jason Mitchell – The Connected Set
Murray Boland and Danielle Lux – CPL Productions
Elaine Hackett – Crackit Productions
Dov Freedman and Charlie Russell – Curious Films
Camilla Lewis, Rob Carey & Paul Day – Curve Media
Abi Harris – CYSA Films
Rachel Arnold and Jon Green – Definitely
Alastair Cook, Robert Davis, Larry Walford – Double Act Productions
Dermot Lavery and Michael Hewitt – DoubleBand Films
Sir Lenny Henry and Angela Ferreira – Douglas Road Productions
Richard Bond – Dragonfly Film & Television Productions
Tamsin Summers & Rachel Drummond Hay – Drummer Television
Donna Clark – DSP
Kevin Batchelor – Electric Robin
Sarah Booth, Lucinda Hicks, Richard Johnston, Bella Lambourne, Derek O’Gara, John
Parsons, Peter Salmon – Endemol Shine UK
Colin Barr – Expectation Entertainment
Roy Ackerman – Films of Record
Nicole Kleeman, Mark Roberts, Iain Scollay – Firecrest Films
Neale Simpson – Fizz
Colleen Flynn & Nick Underhill – Flicker Productions
Magnus Temple, John Hay, Nicola Hill, Nic Brown, Hana Canter and Melissa Hameed – The
Garden
Kate Vogel and Kat Mansoor – Halcyon Pictures
Robert Cannan – Hellflower Films
Wendy Rattray, Rosie Riding, Natalie Hill, Terri Langan – Hello Halo Productions
Ed Taylor – Honey Bee TV
Charles Lauder – The Indie Club
Catherine Lynch and Katy Manley – Initial
Andrew Palmer – KEO films
Jonathan Stadlen – Knickerbockerglory
Alexis Price, Nick Emmerson and David Phillips – Koska
Martin Haines and Karen Wilson – Kudos
Lorraine Charker-Phillips, Simon Dickson, Jo Taylor – Label 1
Ollie Tait – Lambent Productions
Ros Taylor – Leopard Pictures Ltd
Richard Bradley and Nick Catliff – Lion Television
Richard McKerrow, Kieran Smith, Letty Kavanagh, Anna Beattie, Sara Ramsden, Sarah
Thomson-Woolley & Rupert Frisby – Love Productions
Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding – Lupus Films
Nick Curwin, Scarlett Ewens & Edwina Silver – Matisse Media
Simon Knight – Maverick TV
Lynn Sutcliffe – Mighty Productions
Louis Theroux, Nancy Strang, Arron Fellows & Sophie Ardern – Mindhouse Productions
Morgan Matthews, Clare Voyce, Kate Collier and Sophie Leonard – Minnow Films
David Granger and Will Macdonald – Monkey Kingdom
Ed Rubin – New Regency Television International
Cat Lewis – Nine Lives Media and The Indie Club
Neil Duncanson and Steve Gowans – North One
Layla Smith, Roz Pound and Holly Pye – Objective Media Group
Jane Manning, Matt Robins, Adam Bullmore and Jos Cushing – October Films
Tina Flintoff and Nick Hornby – Optomen Television
Laura Mansfield and Helen Veale – Outline Productions
Catherine Considine – Personal Managers Association
Thomas Viner – Pioneer Productions
Grant Mansfield – Plimsoll Productions
Stuart Cabb – Plum Pictures Ltd
David DeHaney – Proper Content
Dimitri Doganis, Tom Barry and Liesel Evans – Raw
Jim Allen – RDF Television
Nick Read – Red Zed Films
Rachel Platt – Reef Television
James Fox and Kitty Walshe – Remarkable Television
Alex Cooke and Alan Hayling – Renegade Pictures
Joanna Ball and Lisa Cox – Ricochet
Kay Mellor OBE – Rollem Productions
Emily Hudd, Iain Wimbush, Fintan Maguire and Lucy Rothery – Rumpus Media
Henry Singer – Sandpaper Films
Matt Bennett, Tanya Shaw and Tim Whitwell – Shine TV
Henrietta Colvin – Sid Gentle Films
Karen Ross – Sidney Street Productions
Jane Featherstone and Dan Isaacs – Sister
Tricia Cooklin – SmokeyBlue Media
Jez Nelson – Somethin’ Else
Melanie Leach and Andrew MacKenzie – South Shore
André Singer – Spring Films
Nick Bullen – Spun Gold
Dave Nath and Peter Beard – Story Films
Stuart Prebble and Danielle Graham – StoryVault Films
Tim Harcourt – Studio Lambert
Neil Crombie, Joe Evans and Caroline Turner – Swan Films
Rukhsana Mosam – Ten66
Harry Bell, Brendan Hughes, Karen Thornton and Diane Dunbar – Tern Television
Steve Humphries – Testimony Films
Damian Kavanagh – Tiger Aspect Productions
Ulla Streib – Tin Roof Media
Helen Tonge and Ian Bradshaw – Title Role Productions
David Parfitt – Trademark Films
Andrew Sheldon and Jess Fowle – True North
Karen Smith – Tuesday’s Child Television
Tim Carter, David Brindley, Dan Adamson, Shireen Abbott and David Clews – Twofour
Group
David Geli & Pollyanna McGirr – UTC Artist Management Ltd
Anna Miralis – Wall To Wall
Leanne Klein and Helena Ely – Wall to Wall and Twenty Twenty
Ronald Goes and Maria Keaveney – Warner Brothers International Television Production
Sunil Patel – Whisper
Paul Islwyn Thomas – Wildflame Productions
David Dugan, Ian Duncan and Allison Todd – Windfall Films
Archie Baron – Wingspan Productions
Sachin Dosani – Wonderhood Studios
Michelle Chappell – Workerbee
Debra Blenkinsop, Peter Holmes and Ruth Phillips – Zeppotron Productions
Matt Graff – Zig Zag Productions
Greg Sanderson – Zinc TV London
The following individuals also wanted to add their names to this letter:
Kandise Abiola
Andrew Allen
Caroline Allward
Joy Ash
Mel Bannergee
Tosca Barnes
Claire Barry
Anna Bates
Zac Beattie
Diane Bernhardt
Rachel Blewitt
Katie Buchanan
Rebecca Burrell
Che Charles
James Christie-Miller
Janet Chute
Rupert Clague
Anna Cox
Tom Currie
Rowan Deacon
Lisa Douglas
Craig Ellis
Leo Fawkes
Simon Ford
Celine Gilbert
Jazz Gowans
Carla Grande
Irina Guimaraes
Katy Hall
Nasfim Haque

Original letter here.

Urgent message for all TV freelancers – do you think your working life would benefit from some changes?

If so Share My Telly Job want to hear from you – but make it now!

Freelancers: We need your comments and thoughts..(email: speaktous@smtj.tv)

Over the weekend SMTJ (Share My Telly Job) is working on a proposal for a change in employment policy for freelancers across the industry.

We held a meeting on Friday with three of the main broadcasters along with The Talent Manager to talk about how, if the industry has any hopes of retaining its talent through this crisis, then current working practices have to change.

We realise that there are a huge proportion of freelancers who will now be unable to work full-time due to enforced caring commitments with many of us now solely responsible for the care and welfare of our children, relatives and friends.

We are proposing that freelancers need to be allowed to work flexibly through job sharing, condensed hours/days, remotes working and part time roles in a way that allows them to return to work in some capacity and generate even a small income which will keep their families afloat until normality is restored. These are policies and working practices offered to staff which need to be rolled out to freelancers.

The meeting was very positive and all broadcasters agreed that now is the time for change, understanding and learning if we want to retain the industries freelance talent.

In times of uncertainty and doubt we can be reassured that the freelance workforce does has a voice and now is the time to get yourselves heard.

What we need to know is how your ability to work over the next 6 months will be affected.

Will returning to work full time during this period be impossible, will flexibility in your job help you get back to work?

Would you feel reassured that if you knew you would be considered in a variety of genres – not limited programmes similar to the last three credits on your CV?

Would a pledge to employ people based on the merit of their CV and their references rather than their personal connection to and employer help the feeling of fairness in hiring?

Will you be encouraged to ride out the immediate storm knowing that when production returns, fairer working practices for freelancers will be employed by inde’s and enforced by the broadcasters?

Is it longer contracts, more lead up time, or just the need to know that working rights for freelancers are being monitored and reported in a more fair way?

Would you consider sharing a contract with a friend to ease the financial burden in the interim or is it imperative that you keep the contract and earn the money?

Is this your time to leave time to leave the industry, has it become completely unworkable for you now?

Tell us what will help you stay in the industry, how you will need to work, the hurdles that have been prohibitive in your career and what changes you would hope to see moving forward.

We have the ear of the broadcasters and two days to turn this around – so please take a minute to send your thoughts to: speaktous@smtj.tv or post comments below. All comments emailed will be anonymous if requested.

Many thanks

Louise, Michelle & Natalie

Coronavirus Hall of Fame.

Here is a list of the best-of-the-best, those production companies which are taking part in the governments furlough scheme, guaranteeing 80% payouts to staff and freelancers who have been laid off.

Oftentimes this involves companies having to do a lot of hard work and take quantifiable financial risks to do something which may not be of immediate benefit to them but which are a lifeline to workers struggling with financial hardship.

The owners and management of these companies should be v proud of what they have done, they are saving our industry and helping innumerable people pay their bills.

Brown Bob Productions (Thanks Nicki Gottlieb!)

Curve Media (Rob, Camilla, Paul & Iain stepped up really early – nice work!)

Middlechild TV (Broadcast Best Place to Work in TV 2020)

Strawberry Blond TV (Broadcast Best Place to Work in TV winner 2019)

Frieda TV (Nice one Jon Lloyd!)

Nutopia (Jane Root – big company, big heart!)

Crackit (Iain Pate and Head of Production Nicki Purcell, much appreciated!)

Thames TV (they’ve taken a big hit from coronavirus but it hasn’t stopped them doing the right thing by their workers)

Great Scott Media (Leon Wilson & Ed Sleeman – just opened for business, setting a great example to all new indies)

Woodcut Media (we love Kate Beal, and always loved her mum!)

Hungry Bear Media (Thank you Dan, we love you!)

STV Productions (Another biggie with a big heart!)

Fulwell 73 (Thank you Johnny Moore!)

Shine (Big company, lots of happy workers – thank you Shine!)

Love Productions (A virtual thank you cake in the oven for you Love!)

Google (They make TV too – and made their workers happy!)

Knickerbockerglory TV MD Jonathan Stadlen personally rang his staff within 24 hours to let them know – we love you Jonathan!

Fremantle TV (Job done, thank you all at Fremantle!)

Finestripe Productions (Bless you Katie Lander and Sue Summers)

Ricochet (Thank you Joanna, Bob and all)

Keo Films ( Ingenious, pioneering, authentic – and very lovely)

Windfall (Award winning company with a big heart too!)

Optomen (Tina, Nick, Sophy and Verity – we salute you!)

The Garden (Doing the right thing and campaigning for freelancers too)

Viacom (Big company taking the big step to support their workers)

RDF (Top 20 indie showing its love)

Emporium Productions (Thank you Emma Read!)

Studio Something (New company, genuinely nice people and won a highly commended award at this year’s Broadcast Awards. Great company)

Nine Lives Media (Thanks Cat Lewis , as reported: “They have been great and really made the process easy for us”. Lovely!)

October Films (Another biggie, looking after the workers)

Northern Town (Nice one Eddie, we knew you’d come good!)

Chalkboard TV (A company that makes great shows, run by great people!)

Argonon Group (Jenny King in HR – thank you for your hard work on this, your team love you for this!)

Tomos TV (Furloughed within hours of the announcement and paying out in March – you lovely people!)

World of Wonder (on the case and furloughing!)

Flicker Productions (“Have furloughed everyone they can, and are working really hard to work out what they can do for people who aren’t eligible. They’ve been great across this whole thing!” Lovely people clearly.

Full Fat TV (Colette Foster, you are much loved for this!)

Wonder TV (Hearing that Wonder are going above and beyond withe their furloughing. Much love to them).

Banjay (Massive group of companies, trying to sort out all their staff

Tuesday’s Child (Karen Smith – we have heard that your hard work keeping people employed has been a “lifesaver” to so many. Much love felt for you by all).

IWC Media (A great company that does things right – we salute you IWC!)

Purple TV (From query to completion, taken care of in under 2 hours. Margot, you’re a gem!

Title Role (15 years of award winning telly – and there for their workers when it really counts – thanks Helen, Ian and Kirsty!)

Two Rivers Media (Did the right thing – Alan Clements, we salute you sir!)

Kindling Media (Furloughing all their staff – love you Sarah McHarry!)

Raise the Roof Productions (Company MD Jane Muirhead personally called staff on the Saturday morning following the chancellor’s statement to let them know – and then followed through. Great work Jane, thank you!)

Stellify Media (Matt and Kieran, your workers salute you sirs – and a lot of them have emailed me to say things that would make you both blush!)

E&E Productions (Furloughing some very happy workers – thank you!)

Neal Street Productions (Thank you from your staff Sam, Pippa and Caro!)

Windfall Films (Much kudos to David et al!)

Spun Gold (As one freelancer said: “It is an absolutely LIFELINE and I cannot begin to enthuse about what a fantastic company it is to work for too”). NB I have heard a LOT of good stories about this company on this front.

Modest TV (“Andrea Hamilton, MD of Modest TV, has furloughed all of her PAYE staff” – hooray!)

Working Title (“They’ve been brilliant with us on the film ‘The Swimmers’ put us on a paid two week hiatus and then furloughed everyone they could. In a cynical industry it’s really heartening when a company has your back”).

**EDIT I hear more news about Working Title – after HMRC failed to process tax details earlier in the year (thereby rendering a large number of freelancers ineligible for furlough), the company came forward and paid three months of furlough out of its own pocket! As my contact tells me “they really looked after us all when things were looking dire and inspired a lot of loyalty”.

Truly a caring company, we salute you Working Title!

Off The Fence (“Not only has it been a lovely company to work for throughout, but their awesomeness extends to difficult times like these – special thanks to Karen Meehan”).

Raw Cut A company  known for its journalistic integrity – and its integrity in matters furlough too!).

Monkey Kingdom (“There are a lot of happy people tonight” says one freelancer – special thanks to Karen Hudson (prod exec), Sam Lawrence (MD), David Grainger & Will Macdonald (creative directors).

Expectation Entertainment (Furloughing till the end of the scheme – nice work Expectation!)

Whizz Kid Entertainment (Great programmes, lovely people – thank you Malcolm and Lisa!).

Gameface Productions (Without going into too much detail it can safely be said that Gameface has earned its place on our list of the best-of-the best many times over. This, from a freelancer, says it all: “The Managing Director, Adam Adler, always does his upmost to make sure that his team (from Exec to Runners) are all well and happy, in both their personal and working life. If there’s anything Adam can do to help his staff in any way, he without a doubt will do it”. Adam, you are a gent, and much loved -and Director of Production Ruth Emerson too!).

Bad Wolf (Termination letters rescinded, furloughing instead – Julie and Jane, lovely people!)

Betty TV (News just in, furloughing!)

Oxford Scientific Films (Anna Brett, head of production is “massively lovely”!)

Warp Films (Rehired and furloughed their freelancers – good on you Warp Films, a shining example!)

Blast Films (We love you Blast – so do your freelancers!)

Hat Trick (Hat Trick stepped up early doors and were determined to furlough as many freelancers as they possibly could. A great, caring company).

Firecracker Films (“Jes Wilkins, the chief creative officer, was communicative throughout the process and Julie Scott, the productive executive, made sure everyone who was eligible was on the scheme”. Great work both – the Watercooler salutes you!).

Five Mile Films (New company but fully behind their freelancers, great at communication and eager to furlough wherever they can. Thank you Nick Mirsky!)

Crook Productions (Paul, Matt and Andrew – employers with very big hearts!)

Rumpus Media (“The HOP is working very hard to get as many people covered by furloughed as possible”. Great work Lucy, it is much appreciated!)

Initial TV (Now furloughing all those eligible freelancers whose contracts have expired. Nice work Initial!).

HCA Entertainment (“They have managed to furlough all their staff and our head of production has been regularly checking in, ensuring everyone is coping well”).

Avalon (Navigated their way around the ups and downs of furloughing while keeping in contact with their freelancers. Great job Avalon, many freelancers have written to express their thanks to a great company!).

All3Media (The big one. Lots of companies, innumerable freelancers, thank you so much Sara Geater, many relieved freelancers because of your work!).

Lion TV (Got in there as early as they could, furloughed as many and as much as they could and got money into people’s accounts within 48 hours. Nice people who run Lion!)

Raw TV (“Aside from being amazing people and a great company to work for/with, they also stepped up to the plate from the start with trying to furlough and support everyone they can. And are continuing to do so. Tom in HR has been working non stop”. Nice one Tom and Raw!)

TwentySix03 (“Have gone above and beyond, revisiting all of our cases every time the rules change, to make sure those who are eligible are getting help”. Much appreciated!).

Swan Films (“Doing a brilliant job to balance new lockdown commissions and furloughing staff where necessary.” Great to hear!)

Mentorn Scotland (“I always feel very supported when working at Mentorn but never more so than now and I’m very thankful for Jill Greenwood’s help and communication throughout”).

Clerkenwell Films (“Such good eggs at Clerkenwell!”)

Fizz TV (“Not only have they furloughed anyone they possibly could, from the instant all this hit, they’ve been checking in with their freelancers on a personal basis too, including the ones they couldn’t help financially….unwaveringly supportive, professional and honourable”).

Dragonfly (All PAYE freelancers signed up again and all furloughed – nice work!).

Remarkable TV (“Sarah Boyce (production exec) and Susan King (Director of Production) are always great to work for, but they have been incredibly loyal and caring and I think deserve a place on your heroes list”).

Hello Halo Productions, (MD Wendy Rattray, HoP Rosie Rider: creators of smart, witty, compelling television and lovely people to boot)

Kalel Productions (MD – Nick Parnes: witty, noisy and ambitious shows but quietly supportive as well!).

Keshet Productions (MD – David Williams: quality productions, quality team – thank you David!).

Zeppelin Films (MD Elliott Reed, HoP Katie Davies: thought-provoking, dramatic, emotional and entertaining television – and caring employers too).

Oxford Films (“Annie Lee, director of production, and Tiffany Paul, accountant, have gone out of their way…” Lovely to hear – thanks both!).

If you know a company we should be adding to this list, do let me know – derrywatson@gmail.com. This list will be regularly updated.

Coronavirus and BBC freelancers.

This is the advice sent out yesterday from Bob Shennan to freelancers who work for the BBC.

___________________________________
From: Bob Shennan [internal.communications@bbc.co.uk]
Sent: 27 March 2020 18:57
To: 
Subject: Message from Bob Shennan – Supporting freelance and fixed term colleagues through this challenging period

This message has been sent to all employees in the UK, including presenters and contributors with a current or recent BBC contract

Hi everyone,

I want to start by thanking you all for supporting each other and helping us to provide vital services during this challenging time. Earlier in the week, we, along with other PSBs, contacted the UK Chancellor<http://britishbroadcastingcorporation.newsweaver.com/staff/jnehiix9g5j1o9ra4wavj3/external?email=true&a=6&p=4322956&t=244307> to ask the Government to support our critically important freelance community. I wrote to you yesterday<http://britishbroadcastingcorporation.newsweaver.com/staff/1g7vdxpz6671o9ra4wavj3/external?email=true&a=6&p=4322956&t=244307> and wanted to follow up on the support we plan to provide for our vital fixed term and freelance workforce.

Supporting freelance and fixed term colleagues

We hire temporary employees on fixed term contracts as well as engaging on and off-air freelancers. Some freelancers are paid through our payroll and are often referred to as ‘PAYE freelancers’ or ‘casual workers’. We also engage self-employed freelancers who are paid on a gross basis.

The majority of our freelancers and fixed term colleagues are fully occupied supporting our continuing output and their jobs are not at risk as a result of COVID-19. However, unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus, we have had to postpone or cancel some productions. We know that is creating insecurity and anxiety and our first priority is to try and redeploy our people where we can, recognising that is not always possible.

What support will be available?

We have listened to the concerns of our freelance and fixed term colleagues, as has the UK Government. Following on from the support announced by the Government, we are also putting in place a series of measures that provide support to our fixed term workers as well as our freelance workforce, both PAYE and Self-Employed.

The measures we are offering will provide:

  *   Income protection against any loss of work due to Covid-19 – this wouldn’t apply to contracts that end for other reasons.
  *   Sick pay cover.
  *   Wellbeing support.

What it means for each group

As we engage people differently, these measures will apply in different ways depending on the types of engagement. We have outlined below how they will apply to fixed-term colleagues, PAYE and Self-Employed freelancers.

The Government has provided two schemes, one for PAYE workers and one for the self-employed to ensure that people in each of these groups can access up to 80% of their earnings up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. The schemes are similar but are accessed in different ways. As the schemes were only announced yesterday, we are seeking clarity on some of the details.

If you are on a fixed term contract and joined the BBC before 28th February

  *   With funding support from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the BBC plans to pay either 100% of your pay or £3,000 per month for the remaining period of your contract up to a maximum of 3 months – whatever is the lesser amount. This will be effective from the 1st March 2020.
  *   You are also eligible for full BBC sick pay and have access to our wellbeing support services (counselling and remote GP service) under your current contract.

If you are a PAYE freelancer and joined the BBC before 28th February

  *   With funding support from the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the BBC plans to pay either 100% of your pay or £3,000 per month for the remaining period of your contract up to a maximum of 3 months – whatever is the lesser amount. This will be effective from the 1st March 2020.
  *   You are entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay if you are ill and we will top this up to 2 weeks full pay if you are sick while engaged to work for us.
  *   By the end of next week we will also provide additional support with access to our Employee Assistance Programme which offers a range of support including telephone advice, counselling sessions and access to our remote GP services.

If you are a self-employed freelancer (paid Gross pay without deductions for tax and NI)

  *   Yesterday, the Chancellor announced an income support scheme for the self-employed. If you are eligible you will receive a cash grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profit over the last three years for the three month period from 1st March. This will be paid to you on application through HMRC.
  *   We are expecting details of how this scheme will operate in the next few days. We will publish this for you as soon as we have it and we are exploring the ways that we will be able to supplement this scheme.

Covid-19 Support Fund

We understand that the Government support may not be available until June for self-employed freelancers, and know that may leave some people without an income in the meantime. To help, we have also set up a central fund for freelancers who are adversely impacted by Covid-19. The fund is available to support self- employed freelancers who have, or would have had, booked engagements with the BBC Group between March and June. Payments made from the fund would be offset against future work and we’ll share further details of how to access the fund next week.

Next steps

We hope the proposals we have set out will help support you at this difficult time. They are complex and the mechanism for accessing payments is in the process of being developed. We are also waiting for more guidance from the Government about how their income support schemes will operate.

Because of that, we do not have all the answers right now to the many questions that you will have. I hope you will bear with us as we understand more and develop our proposals in detail. We will continue working on this detail and get back to you as soon as possible.

If you have a question about the Government’s support schemes, you can access more information here<http://britishbroadcastingcorporation.newsweaver.com/staff/6573x08lz2j1o9ra4wavj3/external?email=true&a=6&p=4322956&t=244307>.

We are developing additional supporting materials and frequently asked questions.  In the meantime, you can share your queries about the support the BBC is providing, here<mailto:bbchr@bbc.co.uk?subject=Query%20on%20support%20for%20freelance/fixedterm%20colleagues>.

Thank you

Thank you for everything you are doing to support our audiences and each other at this difficult time. We are here to support all of you.

Bob

Bob Shennan
Managing Director

This email was sent to  from internal.communications@bbc.co.uk<mailto:internal.communications@bbc.co.uk>
Receive in Plain Text<http://britishbroadcastingcorporation.newsweaver.com/staff/subscriber/switchFormat.html?subscriberId=1o9ra4wavj3&mailingRecordId=004nypt7tfw6w97xqs2sdq&to=TEXT&email=true>  

Travelling by Tube is now meant to be restricted to “essential” workers but Envy Post Production expect their workers to travel in to work on Gogglebox?

Concerns are growing amongst staff at TV facilities house Envy Post Production over being required to work for the company in circumstances where they feel at risk of coronavirus infection.

While the company has said that no-one needs to work if they do not have to, current staff are aware that other individuals who were on probation have been sacked, raising fears that if anyone does speak up or does not come in it that might put their own position in jeopardy.

Alongside these concerns, many of those who work at the company have confirmed that they have had to travel to their inner London bases in crowded buses and tubes, contrary to official advice that this be restricted to essential workers.

The company could not confirm whether alternative arrangements had been made which might prevent this happening