Types of Working Days in the UK HETV Industry – And What They Mean
The phrase “no two days are the same” couldn’t be more appropriate for the UK production industry. Unlike other sectors where the working week generally follows a set pattern, in production, the working week can be made up of various types of working day, each of which comes with its own rules.
In the TV industry specifically, these working days are governed by the Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement, which governs the majority of scripted TV produced in the UK. In line with this agreement, here are the key types of working day to be aware of if you’re producing scripted TV in the UK.
During the contracting process, each crew member will receive a deal memo which sets out the main terms and conditions of their engagement, including the standard contracted hours they’re expected to work before they go into overtime.
Under the previous Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement, crew could be contracted to work a 10+1 day (i.e., 10 working hours plus one hour for lunch) or an 11+1 day (i.e., 11 working hours plus one hour for lunch). Under the new agreement, which took effect on 1 January 2023, crew can only be contracted to work a 10+1 day.
On this basis, a shooting day is paid at 10 contracted hours and may be scheduled as one of the following:
- Standard working day: defined as 10 shooting hours with a one-hour unpaid lunchbreak for all on-set crew (e.g., 8am-7pm). Note that this is also the standard working day for non-shoot crew.
- Semi-continuous working day: defined as nine-and-a-half shooting hours with an unpaid lunchbreak of 30 minutes (e.g., 8am-6pm).
- Continuous working day: defined as nine shooting hours with no formal break (e.g., 8am-5pm). Crew may receive an informal rest break of 20 minutes or less.
Certain departments (i.e., ADs, costume, hair and make-up, prosthetics, locations, production and script supervisors) have what’s called an “additional contracted hour” included in their contract to recognise the time that it takes to set up and pack down on shoot days. This means that they are engaged to work a 10+1+1 day during the shooting period. This additional hour is paid at 1/10th of the crew member’s daily rate (so if their basic daily rate is £300, the additional hour will be paid at their hourly rate of £30).
For all other departments, the agreement specifies that a crew member’s basic daily rate is deemed to include an amount of time to get ready and pack away that is customary to their department to ensure they are ready to start the working day at their individual call time.
A split day is defined as a filming day with a camera finish between 9pm and 11pm. Split days can be scheduled at the producer’s discretion, but where a crew member is engaged to work more than seven weeks of the shooting schedule, a maximum of 40% of the total filming days they work can be split days. A £30 premium will apply for each additional split day exceeding this cap.
Additional split days should be added together, along with any premiums owed paid at the end of a crew member’s contract.
A sixth day is where a crew member works six days in a row. Sixth days are paid at 1.5T (T is a crew member’s hourly rate, so 1.5T is one-and-a-half times the hourly rate).
You guessed it – a seventh day is where a crew member works seven days in a row. Seventh days are paid at 2T.
Under the Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement, crew are prohibited from working eight days in a row.
Where crew are required to work bank holidays, they must be paid at 2T. Notably, crew members on Band 4 productions (productions with a budget of more than £7m per episodic hour) are also entitled to be paid at 1T for unworked bank holidays (crew on Band 1-3 productions aren’t paid for unworked bank holidays).
Weekend work is any work which takes place on the weekend. Weekend work must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance – otherwise, crew members are not contractually obliged to work weekends. Weekend work is paid at the crew member’s daily rate (unless it qualifies as a sixth or seventh day).
How Entertainment Partners can help
Entertainment Partners has everything you need to implement the Pact/Bectu TV Drama Agreement 2023 on your next production and manage the complexities.
Our Digitised Pact+ deal memo provides for quick, digital onboarding, while our smart, integrated timesheets save you time and do the heavy lifting for you. You’ll also enjoy fast, accurate, compliant payroll from the most trusted provider in the global entertainment industry, plus expert local support from our extensive, UK-based team. Get in touch to learn more.