Extras: Know your rights
MEAA Equity recently held meetings with concerned extras who felt that their employee rights were not being upheld. They wanted to know how long they could be put ‘on hold’; whether they should have to supply their own RAT tests; when they should be paid for supplying wardrobe, and how much; and what commission an agent was allowed to take. Please find information on these issues below. Since the meetings we have had several inquiries about other topics involving extras’ rights and will soon make further information available.
An artist can only be placed on Hold for a period of 36 hours (or if placed on a Friday or a day preceding a public holiday, to the end of the next working day). If the producer has not advised the Artist whether their services are required by the end of that period, then the Hold shall be deemed to have lapsed.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTING (RATS)
Where an employer has determined that rapid antigen testing in the workplace is necessary to comply with their obligations under a WHS law, then the employer must provide the tests at no cost to employees. If the employee is required to take a rapid antigen test before attending the workplace, the employee will generally not be entitled to be paid for the time taking the test. If the employee is required to take the test at the workplace, then the employee will generally be entitled to be paid for the time spent taking the test.
If an artist supplies their own formal wear wardrobe (including any special ‘character’ costume) they shall be paid $67.28, inclusive of any rental fee (this amount will be revised each year).
In both NSW and Queensland a performer agent may only charge 10% unless they are providing managerial services as well. NSW and QLD are the only states where the agent relationship is legislatively regulated and has specific legal requirements about managerial services. In other states this is just best practice. In NSW, an agent may only charge more than 10% if there is a written agreement in place between the performer and agent that specifies the additional services that are being provided related to career development, management of reputation or career and the fees specified for these additional services. Both parties must acknowledge that these services are being provided and the managerial agreement must provide a three-day cooling off period. Under QLD legislation, an agent may only charge more than 10% if they are providing at least 4 of the following services: handling your business affairs, providing accounting advice, publicising and promoting you, providing ancillary services and providing career or artistic advice.
These are your rights: insisting on them does not make you a trouble-maker. It simply means you are working according to the agreements negotiated by the union and producers or stipulated by law – so don’t hesitate to insist on them. If you have any further questions, please contact MEAA Member Central on 1300 656 513.