The Associate’s Two Cents- Extra! Extra! SAG-AFTRA Considerations for Background Actors, Part Two

In Part One of this series, we discussed the SAG-AFTRA requirements for background actors regarding salary and overtime. Our post contained an examination of the SAG-AFTRA PDF document outlining the rules for background actors. This week’s discussion will likewise refer this document as we discuss when a background actor is entitled to additional payment for work performed.

Recall from Part One of this series, that the minimum pay rate for a general background actor, who is a member of the Union, is $148.00 per day. Overtime pay is applicable when the actor works more than an eight-hour day, more than five consecutive days, or on a qualified holiday. In addition, extra pay is required for: hazardous work, wet/smoke work, body make-up/hair goods/cuts and wardrobe allowances. If you are a SAG-AFTRA background actor, always be aware of these special circumstances when accepting work.

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Hazardous Work

According to the SAG-AFTRA Requirements, hazardous work is any work that can be considered “rough” or “dangerous.” Examples could include work that involves performing at extreme heights, with chemicals or explosives, with wild animals or lifting/carrying heaving objects. Since SAG-AFTRA does not limit what “rough” or “dangerous” work is, you should always be aware of work that could fall outside of the scope of “ordinary” work and into this category because it entitles you to extra compensation.

The Union requires that you should be notified at the time of booking that the work is “rough” or “dangerous.” This gives you an opportunity to accept or decline the work in a timely manner.   If no notice of the hazardous work is given, and you are cast on the production, you may still refuse the work and receive the greater of 1) a one half check or 2) payment for actual hours work. The Union prohibits discrimination against a background actor who refuses to perform hazardous work. So, you cannot be pressured to perform hazardous work or be denied other work because you refuse. If you suspect this has happened, contact the Union or your Union representative.

Along these same lines, if general background acting work is available on that production, the producer may opt to keep you for this work at the standard pay rate. Still, if you agree to perform the hazardous work, you are entitled to additional compensation–your daily rate of $148.00 plus an amount negotiated and agreed to before the performance of the work. This additional pay must be listed on your daily voucher. Thus, it is imperative that you are aware of the assignment and whether it fits into this category. Finally, if you agree to perform such work, the Union requires the producer provide immediate access to “qualified medical personnel.”

What if you are not required to film with a lion or bull, but instead are required to film in a rainstorm or provide you own hair weave? Join us next week as we continue this discussion.

 

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