Payroll Support

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After sending my edit corrections when can I expect checks to be available?

Payrolls will be available for pick up at EP within three hours after receiving the edit with all corrections marked if received by 2:00 pm. If the payroll requires an unusual number of corrections due to information that was not indicated on the time card, processing time may be extended.


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Are there any employer taxes/benefits other than FICA FUI and SUI?

Nevada Excise Tax: Nevada imposes a tax of 0.63% of employee’s wages subject to FICA for each individual working in the state. Chicago Expense Tax: Chicago levies a tax of $4 per month for each employee working within the city. Denver Occupational Tax: Denver assesses both an employee and employer tax for each month an employee works within the city. The rate is $4.00 for the employer tax and $5.75 for the employee withholding. Aurora CO Occupational Tax: Aurora, CO assesses both the employee and employer $2 for each month per employee working in the city. Hawaii: Mandatory health insurance on all employees working four weeks or more, if they are not already covered by an existing plan. A gross receipts tax based on EP’s handling fee. Massachusetts: Health insurance (employer expense): A tax of 0.12% of employee’s gross wages up to a limit of $14,000. Employees covered under the State Unemployment Insurance are covered under the Massachusetts Health Insurance Plan. New Mexico: Personnel Assessment Fee: The employer’s rate is $2.30 per month per employee; the employee’s deduction is $2 per quarter. A gross receipts tax based on either the handling fee or, in some cases, the gross payroll if processed through the ‘Super Loan-Out’ structure and the client is seeking a tax credit on the same wages. San Francisco: Employer-only payroll tax expense is based on employee’s wages subject to FICA at 1.5% and applies to the city and county of San Francisco. Health insurance assessment for non-union workers employed on a full-time equivalent basis, which is assessed on a quarterly basis. St. Louis MO City Tax: St. Louis assesses employers 0.5% of employees’ gross wages and requires 1.0% to be withheld from employees’ gross wages Oregon: Tri-Met Transportation: 0.6718% of wages subject to SIT for those working in Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah counties. Lane County District: 0.65% of wages subject to SIT for those working in Eugene, Springfield, and Lane counties. Personnel Assessment: 1.4 cents per hour per employee and employer. Pittsburgh: Emergency Medical Services Tax. $52 per employee per year, paid by the employee at $1 per week. Seattle: Employee Hours Tax for Transportation: Employer-paid tax of either $0.01302 per employee per hour worked in the city of Seattle or $25 per year per full-time employee.


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Can Casting Payroll process the vouchers if we fax them to you?

Yes. We will process vouchers we receive by fax. Our fax number is 818.736.4458. We do not need the originals back if they have been faxed; however, if you decide to send them to us later, please be sure to note on the vouchers that they were previously faxed.


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Can I pay a non-exempt employee a ‘flat’ weekly rate?

No. Flat rates are a violation of both California and federal wage and hour laws. Both California and federal laws require non-exempt employees to be paid for the hours actually worked.


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Can I receive a photocopy of the background actors’ checks along with my invoice?

We send a check register along with the invoice cover sheet. We do not photocopy checks for security reasons and to comply with government privacy laws.


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Do you accept credit cards?

No. Labor costs cannot be paid by credit.


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Does any state not allow a film credit if state income tax is paid to a non-resident’s state?

Pennsylvania does not allow a film credit if state income tax is paid to a non-resident’s state rather than to Pennsylvania.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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Does Entertainment Partners cover foreign workers?

Generally speaking, if EP is paying the employee, then the employee is covered anywhere in the world. EP does not usually provide Workers’ Compensation for foreign hires working in foreign countries. Please contact our Workers’ Compensation team at 800.955.4878 or by email for further clarification.


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How does the employee receive notification of the recoupment?

A certified letter is sent to the employee informing him/her of the overpayment and the process for recoupment before the overpayment is deducted. This is to allow ample time for the employee to make arrangements directly with EP for repayment.


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How much prepayment is required for payroll?

The total job estimate as indicated on the registration form.


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How should we handle a situation where our production is unable to accommodate modified duty for an employee?

If you receive a modified duty or off-work slip signed by your employee’s physician, the adjuster must be contacted immediately and will advise the next step.


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How soon can Casting Payroll generate an invoice? Can we have an invoice before the payroll is processed?

We are unable to generate an invoice without having the payroll to process. Barring any complications, any payroll received before 2:00 pm (Pacific) should be processed that same day, and the invoice will be ready the following morning. Payroll received after 2:00 pm (Pacific) will be processed the next day, with the invoice ready the following morning (i.e., two days later).


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I have a release/modification for this order. Where should I send it?

You can either fax (818.848.0254, Attn: Employee Services) or mail (Entertainment Partners, Attn: Employee Services, P.O. Box 7836, Burbank, CA 91504-7836) a release or modification request.


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I made a dollar adjustment for a vendor. Why is it not reflected on the Vendor Inquiry?

The Vendor Inquiry Report in Vista does not show dollar adjustments made to a vendor. The dollar adjustment will appear only in the Tax Report.


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I use Casting Payroll. Where should I send my payroll to the Central Casting office or to Entertainment Partners?

Send payroll to Entertainment Partners. Our payroll department is in the EP building at 2835 N. Naomi St., Burbank, CA 91504-2024. Completed vouchers should be sent to this address rather than the Central Casting office on Flower Street. While we do have a runner between the buildings, sending the vouchers to Central Casting invariably causes a delay in processing.


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If an employee worked for us previously do I need to submit a new start card or can you use the one from the previous show?

You need to submit a new start card. A start card must be submitted for each employee on a show (i.e., start cards are show-specific, not production company-specific). Even if the production company has hired the employee on other shows, a new start card is needed when the employee works on a new show. This is to ensure that all pertinent information is up-to-date and charges are made to the correct production. It is particularly important that start cards be complete and accurate. Please be sure that they are signed by the employee, as well as by an authorized representative of the production company.


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If I paid someone with an A/P check can EP put those earnings on its books for reporting purposes?

To book these earnings, EP will need a copy of the time card and A/P check as proof that payment was made. In addition, due to tax reporting constraints, adjustments of this nature should be made within the same calendar year the A/P check is generated.


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What about ‘monopolistic’ states?

A “monopolistic” state is one in which Workers’ Compensation coverage can be purchased only through the state. Monopolistic states do not allow private insurers. Employees being paid by EP already have coverage. The monopolistic states are North Dakota, Ohio, Washington, and Wyoming.


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What are non-refundable, non-transferable tax credits?

A non-refundable, non-transferable tax credit can generally be carried forward and used to reduce taxes in subsequent years if the production company has no current tax liability. Each jurisdiction sets forth the period of time within which the tax credit can be carried forward.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What are production incentive benefit limits?

Many jurisdictions have an annual cap on the amount to be awarded under the incentive program. Others have a cap on the amount that can be awarded to a specific project. For TV, there may be episode caps and series caps. Many jurisdictions also have qualifying expenditure caps on salaries. For some jurisdictions, salaries paid to highly compensated individuals, usually $1,000,000 or more, are excluded from the benefit calculation.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What are production incentives?

Production incentives are offered as cash rebates, tax credits, or up-front/back-end production funding. In addition, numerous jurisdictions offer sales, use, excise, and gross receipts tax relief in the forms of deductions, credits, exemptions, and waivers.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What are sunset dates?

Many production incentive statutes are limited in duration. The statute will have a termination date or “sunset date” after which the benefits are no longer available. Will your project be qualified before the incentive expires?

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What are the different types of tax credits?

Tax credits can be refundable or non-refundable, and transferable or non-transferable. Refundable Tax Credits: A refundable tax credit functions in the same way as a production rebate, but it is administered by the local taxing authority, and claimed by filing a tax return. The production company must file a tax return regardless of whether it has any income or owes any tax in the jurisdiction. If the production company does owe tax, a refund will be granted for the excess of the credit over the amount of tax owed. In some cases, banks or other lenders can monetize refundable tax credits so that the production company can get the money earlier. Generally speaking, a cost is associated with an advance of the funds. Transferable Tax Credits: A non-refundable tax credit may be transferable or non-transferable. A transferable tax credit is one that may be sold or assigned to a local taxpayer. This transfer can be handled directly by the production company or indirectly through the use of brokers. Brokers will generally charge a commission. In addition, the production company will need to discount the credit from its face value to entice local taxpayers to purchase them. Lastly, tax credits may be recaptured by states after audit. Some states have recapture provisions with recourse to the buyer of a credit. Jurisdictions vary in how they regulate these transfers. Some jurisdictions permit a single credit to be divided among multiple transferees. Others permit multiple transfers, allowing transferees to sell all or a part of the credit they purchased to another taxpayer. Non-Refundable, Non-Transferable Tax Credits: A non-refundable, non-transferable tax credit can generally be carried forward and used to reduce taxes in subsequent years if the production company has no current tax liability. Each jurisdiction sets forth the period of time within which the tax credit can be carried forward.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What are the guidelines for California’s minor trust fund deductions?

Trust deductions for minors are no longer optional. Under California State Senate Bills Nos. 1162 and 210, all unemancipated minors that are residents of California, no matter where they work, and all minors that work in California, no matter where they reside, must have a minimum of 15% of their gross earnings deducted and placed in approved trust accounts. It is a statutory requirement that bank information be provided to deposit money into the minor’s trust account. No authorization is needed to deduct the statutory 15%. EP will automatically deduct 15% of gross earnings from each minor’s check. A work permit is required for all minors working in California. It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to provide bank information to EP. EP will hold trust deductions without bank information in a non-interest bearing account for 180 days. After 180 days, the funds will be remitted to the Actor’s Fund of America. EP’s responsibility for the funds will cease at this time.


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What are the guidelines for New York minor trust fund deductions?

Trust deductions for minors are no longer optional. As of March 28, 2004, the Child Performer Education and Trust Act of 2003, A7510B, requires that all unemancipated minors who are residents of New York working in New York and all minors who work in New York no matter where they reside must have at least 15% of their gross earnings deducted and placed in approved Child Performer trust accounts. EP and the State of New York require certain information to be provided to deposit money into the minor’s trust account. Note, however, that no authorization is actually needed to deduct the statutory 15%. EP will automatically deduct 15% of gross earnings for each minor’s check. A work permit is required for all minors working in New York. It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to provide bank information to EP. EP will hold trust deductions without bank information in a non-interest bearing account for 30 days. After 30 days the funds will be remitted to the New York State Comptroller’s Office. EP’s responsibility for the funds will cease at this time.


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What are the special requirements for filming outside the United States?

For filming outside the United States and Canada, please send EP a Certificate of Insurance naming Entertainment Partners, et al, as additional insured on your Foreign Liability coverage.


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What are the special requirements pertaining to aircraft watercraft stunts and other hazardous activities?

If your production will be working with any of the above hazardous activities, you must complete the questionnaire in the EP Insurance Requirements and Questionnaire and fax or email the form to the EP Workers’ Compensation Team at 818.559.3283, or by email. Please note that aircraft and watercraft activities usually require additional Certificates of Insurance.


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What are transferable tax credits?

A non-refundable tax credit may be transferable or non-transferable. A transferable tax credit is one that may be sold or assigned to a local taxpayer. This transfer can be handled directly by the production company or indirectly through the use of brokers. Brokers will generally charge a commission. In addition, the production company will need to discount the credit from its face value to entice local taxpayers to purchase them. Lastly, tax credits may be recaptured by states after audit. Some states have recapture provisions with recourse to the buyer of a credit. Jurisdictions vary in how they regulate these transfers. Some jurisdictions permit a single credit to be divided among multiple transferees. Others permit multiple transfers, allowing transferees to sell all or a part of the credit they purchased to another taxpayer.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What are your hours for payroll pick-up?

For your convenience, our pick-up window in Burbank is open from 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.


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What do I need to do if there are stunts in my production?

Please complete the questionnaire in the EP Insurance Requirements and Questionnaire and submit it to insurance@ep.com.


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What is a production rebate?

A cash rebate or grant is a sum of money paid to a qualifying production company based on the amount of qualifying expenditures or jobs created in the jurisdiction on a qualifying project. These funds do not require a tax return to be filed. They are often administered by the Departments of Trade and Industry, Commerce, or Economic Development.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What is a qualifying expenditure for production incentives?

Each jurisdiction defines the goods and services that constitute qualifying expenditures for purposes of calculating the incentive benefit. In most jurisdictions local goods and services directly used in the production are included in the benefit-calculation base. Some jurisdictions allow expenditures incurred in other jurisdictions but used for local production to qualify. In some cases both pre-production and post-production will be included. In most cases marketing and distribution expenses will be excluded. Entertainment Partners’ handling fees and Workers’ Compensation insurance fees are qualified expenditures in many jurisdictions. Please contact Joseph Chianese or Marco Cordova for more information.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What is a qualifying project for production incentives?

Most jurisdictions have a minimum spend test; some have a minimum number of local shooting days/stage days, resident employee requirement, or some other test so that the project will satisfy the jurisdiction’s goals in building its local industry, revenue base, employment, etc.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What is a refundable tax credit?

A refundable tax credit functions in the same way as a production rebate, but it is administered by the local taxing authority, and claimed by filing a tax return. The production company must file a tax return regardless of whether it has any income or owes any tax in the jurisdiction. If the production company does owe tax, a refund will be granted for the excess of the credit over the amount of tax owed. In some cases, banks or other lenders can monetize refundable tax credits so that the production company can get the money earlier. Generally speaking, a cost is associated with an advance of the funds.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What is an eligible production company for production incentives?

Each jurisdiction defines which type of business entity is eligible to apply for and claim its production incentives. Many jurisdictions require that the company be exclusively engaged in the business of film production. Some jurisdictions specify the legal structure and/or residence required for eligible production companies.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What is an eligible project for production incentives?

Each jurisdiction defines the types of projects eligible for the incentive benefits. In some jurisdictions, television projects are excluded. In other jurisdictions, the scope of eligible projects is very broad, including film, TV, video, digital programming, interactive games, commercial advertisements, animation, etc. Some pilots and treatments qualify. There are frequently exclusions for “adult programming,” news, weather, sports events, infomercials, reality shows, etc. In addition, many jurisdictions require that the project be intended for commercial exhibition and/or that a distribution deal be in place.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What is the balance on my payroll account?

Please check with your Accounts Receivable representative.


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What is the best way to contact the Casting Payroll department if I have a question?

The best way to contact payroll is to call 818.729.6450 between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm (Pacific). We have paymasters dedicated to answering your questions during that time. Please have the following information available when calling payroll: your legal name, your Social Security number, the date you worked, and the show name. Also be prepared to state the nature of your call. For your protection, Central Casting Payroll will not discuss payroll matters with anyone except the background actor in question.


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What is the EDD Limit amount for California?

As of 2009, the EDD Limit amount for California is $600.00. Please note that although the EDD sets an EDD Limit amount, a production’s corporate accounting department may have different requirements. The user should confer with his/her corporate accounting department for the proper input to this field.


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What is the FLSA payment on a check?

Under federal labor law the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that certain types of penalty payments must be considered when determining an employee’s overtime rate. This payment is the difference between the overtime calculated with penalties and without penalties. This applies to both union and non-union employees.


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What is the Payroll Interface record?

The Payroll Interface record is required by the system to download payroll from EP. The Payroll Interface table is the record that tells the system which company, currency, and bank to load the payroll into, as well as whom the payroll vendor is. In addition, this is where you can set up your system to fringe to memo for tax incentives tracking.


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What is the unemployment State Identification Number for EP?

The number is on your last pay check stub in the Unemployment Information box.


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What is up-front or back-end funding?

These funds are made available to qualifying productions from local taxpayers in exchange for advantageous tax treatment from the local jurisdiction.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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What should I do if I need to reprint my payroll checks?

If you need to reprint your payroll checks, email Service and Support with a Subject line of “Payroll Reprint.” Include the following information: the show’s license number, show’s title, payroll client number, invoice number, check numbers you need to reprint, and the reason you need to reprint. Also include your name and contact information. A Service and Support representative will call you to provide a pass code that will allow you to reprint your checks.


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When can I expect to receive my payroll edit?

Payroll delivered to Entertainment Partners between 9:30 am and 6:00 pm will receive an edit within 24 hours, excluding holidays and weekends. Payrolls received after 6:00 pm will receive an edit 24 hours from 9:30 am the following morning.


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When I pay your invoice, to whom should I make out the check: Central Casting or Entertainment Partners?

The check should be made out to Entertainment Partners and sent to the Naomi Street address: 2835 N. Naomi St., Burbank, CA 91504-2024. Please reference the invoice number on your check.


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Where are production incentives available?

The federal government and most U.S. states offer production incentives for motion picture and television productions. A number of jurisdictions also offer incentives for commercial advertisement, digital programming, post-production, video game production, animation, and other production types. More than a dozen international jurisdictions offer production incentives for foreign producers.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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Where can I check the status of a California corporation or a corporation doing business in California?

Check the status of a California corporation by visiting the Secretary of State’s Business Search website.


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Where can I find the U.S. CONUS and Outside the Continental U.S. OCONUS per diem lists?

Click on a link below to search for per diem rates.

  • Continental U.S. Per Diem Rates — CONUS
  • Outside the Continental U.S. — OCONUS
  • Foreign

For per diems frequently asked questions (FAQs), visit the U.S. General Services Administration website.


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Where can I get local advice for production incentives?

Local film offices are set up to enhance local production. Contact with the local film office will enable you to find locations, coordinate crews, and access local goods and services. Find out which local auditing and legal services will be needed.

To learn more about production incentives, please visit our EP Financial Solutions website.


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Where I can purchase 1099-MISC forms?

You can purchase 1099-MISC forms at any office supply store through Form Consultants at 800.719.6817 and through the IRS.


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Which states do not allow exempt on Form W-4?

Pennsylvania and Michigan. Wages in these two states do not qualify for film credit.


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Which states impose a state sales tax on EP handling fees for clients? What are their tax rates?

Connecticut = 6.0%
Hawaii = 4.5%
New Mexico = 6.625%
Pennsylvania = 7.0%


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Which states impose sales tax on EP gross billings for Super Loan-Out clients? What are the tax rates?

New Mexico = 5.0%


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Which states require Loan-Out withholding? And what are their rates?

California = 7.0%. The tax is waived if registered with the Secretary of State.
Massachusetts = 5.3%. The Loan-Out can apply for a waiver. Note that MA waiver dates are adhered to strictly.
Michigan = 4.35%. There is no waiver. Tax must be withheld to qualify for film credit.
North Carolina = 4.0%. The tax is waived if registered with the Secretary of State.
South Carolina = 2.0%. The tax is waived if registered with the Secretary of State.


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Which states require state withholding on corporations that are not qualified to do business within their jurisdiction?

There are currently four states that require state withholding on corporations that are not qualified to do business within their jurisdiction: California (7%), North Carolina (4%), South Carolina (2%), and Massachusetts (5.3%). If your production will be working in any of these states and you have hired loan-out employees where the corporation is not qualified to do business there, you should advise the necessary parties of the tax liability. (If the corporation is qualified to do business in the state of California, this should be noted on the start card, i.e., the State ID number should be listed, noted, or written in.) North Carolina and South Carolina require a CERTIFICATE of Authority, a copy of which should be submitted with the start card to block withholding. Massachusetts requires the loan-out corporation to register for performer withholding taxes and obtain a waiver (sent to EP). Once EP receives the waiver, the 5.3% will not be withheld. EP cannot refund amounts withheld prior to receiving the waiver.


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Which tax codes does the EDD require California businesses to report on for Independent Contractors?

As of 2009, California requires California businesses to report on tax code 7 NEC earnings only. Please note that a production’s corporate accounting department may have different requirements. The user should confer with his/her corporate accounting department for the proper input to this field.


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Which voucher copy should be returned to Casting Payroll?

As the Employer processing the payroll, it is important that we receive the ORIGINAL or “top copy” of the voucher. If your show falls under the jurisdiction of the SAG Schedule X-Part II agreement (i.e., SAG NY, etc.) please send the SAG copy to us as well, so we can forward it to SAG along with the payroll report as per the SAG contract. Keep the Production copy for your records.


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Who is responsible for completing and posting the required OSHA logs?

The production company is responsible for keeping and maintaining the OSHA log. Please visit http://www.osha.gov. You may also contact your local OSHA office for guidance.


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Whom do I call if I want to check on the status of an adjustment?

Entertainment Partners Adjustments department is available from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm (Pacific) to assist you in resolving any payroll adjustments. Call: 888.EP.FIXIT (888.373.4948).


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Why are production incentives granted?

Governments have long used incentives to foster economic growth, build infrastructure, and create jobs. Incentives are used to attract industries that are viewed as important to the local community. Production of filmed entertainment is especially amenable to incentives because it is highly mobile, environmentally “clean,” capital and labor-intensive, and effective in promoting tourism.


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Why can’t I enter a day for End of Production?

The End of Production is determined by the last day break. If the user hasn’t added any day breaks, the day will default. If the user continually adds more day breaks, the End of Production day will change as well.


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Why doesn’t EP pay independent contractors?

The federal government considers any person under your direction or control an employee (i.e., to whom you supply an office, dictate hours and/or conditions, etc.). As such, withholding, as well as employer taxes (e.g., FICA SUI and FUI), are due on wages and taxable allowances, etc. If the employer fails to comply, potential liabilities exist for all unpaid federal/state/municipal taxes. In addition, penalties and interest may be levied. Even if the income is reported on a 1099 form, there would be no relief from these obligations if the individual is deemed an employee. Therefore, EP does not pay independent contractors.


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Why doesn’t my voided payroll invoice match the original?

This could happen for several reasons. You could have both a void and reissue on the same invoice and tax ceilings could have been reached. Often the discrepancy is related to payroll taxes. If any employees on the original invoice worked again before the void was issued, they may have reached their ceilings for certain taxes.


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Why is it required to prepay payroll?

Once we issue timecards and start forms, we are legally liable for the production’s payroll so we ask for the funding in advance.


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Will EP automatically stop deducting PH and W when the ceiling has been reached for SAG AFTRA DGA and WGA?

Theatrical: yes. But the Episodic (e.g., TV series) ceiling can be reached automatically by our system ONLY IF the time cards clearly denote a unique designation within the coding string up to and including the episode number. Without this designation the system will calculate on all dollars paid. IF YOU ARE NOT USING A UNIQUE PRODUCTION NUMBER AND CEILINGS APPLY, it is necessary to advise your paymaster to manually stop deducting.


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Alert New Form I-9 Required May 8, 2013

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has released a new Form I-9 , which includes clearer instructions, some new fields and some reformatting.

Effective immediately:

  • Employers should begin using the newly revised Form I-9 for all new hires and re-verifications.
  • Employers may continue to use previously accepted revisions until May 7, 2013.
  • After May 7, 2013, employers must only use the new Form I-9 (revised 3/8/13). The revision date is printed on the lower left corner.

The revised form will be included in all EP start packets. Once the new packets are distributed, please be sure to discard any previous packets that do not contain the 3/8/13 revised form.

To begin using the new form immediately, please download it from http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.

If you have a any questions, please contact your Paymaster.


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ALERT: California Cell Phone Reimbursement Case

Re: Recent California Appellate Court Decision Requiring Reasonable Reimbursement for Mandatory Use of Personal Cell Phones for Work

On August 12, 2014, the California Court of Appeal decided in Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. that California Labor Code Section 2802 obligates an employer to reimburse a reasonable share of an employee’s personal cell phone bill where the employer required the employee to use the personal cell phone for work. The employer, Schwan’s Home Service, may petition for California Supreme Court discretionary review. Review, if granted, would suspend the decision until a Supreme Court ruling.

Schwan’s Home Service required certain employees to use their personal cell phones for business calls. It unsuccessfully contended that employees who purchased unlimited call plans, set up their phone under a family member’s or other responsible third party’s account, or otherwise did not purchase a special plan or usage for work were not entitled to reimbursement because they incurred no expense of their own for work. The court rationalized that Section 2802’s purpose was to prevent the employer from passing on employer costs to an employee, and since the employer enjoyed the benefit of leveraging the employee’s personal cell phone for work, the employer should share in the cost, even absent proof of additional work-specific cost.

While the Cochran court ruled that employers must reimburse employees a reasonable percentage of employee personal cell phone bills for mandatory work usage, it did not define or clarify what is considered “reasonable.” Instead, the court consciously avoided any guidance, noting that the work-related scenarios made the determination fact-specific. As a result, clients should review their mobile device policies with their legal advisors to assess the most appropriate course of action for addressing the decision, depending on the client’s specific circumstances and business needs. At one end of the spectrum, employers may supply their employees who are required to use a cell phone for work with company phones. At the other end, employers may detail in policies that personal cell phone use is discouraged or not required and implement corresponding measures to ensure personal cell phone usage is not mandated in practice. There are other potential alternative strategies within the spectrum, depending on the situation, including adoption of a “reasonable” reimbursement rate for work-required personal cell phone use. Determination of a reasonable reimbursement rate is a fact-specific issue that clients would need to decide in consultation with their legal advisors.

For any questions about this alert, you may contact:

Scott Bishop
Senior Labor Counsel

818.955.4336
sbishop@ep.com
Molly McLucas
Corporate Counsel

818.955.4340
mmclucas@ep.com

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ALERT: December 15, 2014: California Earned Sick Leave Act Taking Effect July 1, 2015

This page about California Sick Leave is being updated. In the meantime, please refer to the California Labor Commissioner’s webpage at the following link for more information about California Sick Leave: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Paid_Sick_Leave.htm. Please note that your union may have different rules for California Sick Leave and you should contact the Labor Relations department at your studio/production company with questions about your union’s rules.


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ALERT: National Labor Relations Board’s Recent Expansion of Joint Employer Standard

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) overturned 30 years of well-established precedent and issued a split 3-2 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc. (Browning-Ferris) broadening the scope of joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The prior legal test imposed NLRA employer status on the common law employer or parties sharing direct control over material terms of worker employment, such as hiring, pay rate, duties, supervision, discipline and termination. The NLRB’s new standard in Browning-Ferris rewrites the definition of employer status to include companies who have outsourced labor through staffing or subcontracting arrangements but have indirectly retained enough operational or contractual control over the entity employing the workers. The decision does not impact the production company’s relationship with Entertainment Partners (EP) as the motion picture payroll service company because the production company has and will continue to remain the NLRA employer of production workers due to its control over production operations and personnel.

Browning-Ferris outsourced operation of its recycling plant to a staffing company. In its relationship with the staffing company, Browning-Ferris could reject candidates or discontinue use of assigned staffing company personnel for any reason, prohibited the staffing company from paying assigned employees more than Browning-Ferris paid its own employees for comparable work, controlled plant working hours and production lines at the plant, monitored productivity of assigned employees, required that an authorized Browning-Ferris representative approve employee time records, and held pre-shift meetings to instruct staffing company supervisors on which production lines would operate and what tasks should be performed on those lines. The union sought to represent the staffing company personnel, alleging that Browning-Ferris jointly employed the staffing company workers. The Board’s majority concluded that Browning-Ferris was a joint employer of the staffing company personnel under an expanded indirect control standard because of its control over the staffing company employees by virtue of operational and contractual control over the staffing company.

The significance of NLRA joint employer status is that the joint employer may become included in the NLRB unionization election process for joint employees, may be obligated to collectively bargain over those employment subjects under the joint employer’s control, and may be responsible for unfair labor practice charges involving the joint employees. As noted above, Browning-Ferris does not alter the production company’s NLRA employer role over production workers payrolled by EP for production companies. In EP’s relationship with the production company, the production company selects the production workers and maintains full day-to-day control; EP does not recruit or select the workers or exert authority over the production company’s conduct of operations or personnel. Production companies should consult their labor advisors about their other vendor relationships involving outsourced production workers to determine if the control exercised or prescribed through contract reaches a level sufficient to confer joint employer status on the production company.

We anticipate that Browning-Ferris will be appealed to a U.S. Court of Appeals. However, absent reversal of the decision or federal legislative change, the NLRB is expected to apply this broadened standard to impose joint employer status on companies who outsource labor to another company but exercise indirect control or retain the right to exert such control over the terms and conditions of the other company’s workforce.

For questions about this Alert, you may contact Joseph Scudiero, Senior Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel, at 818.955.4335 or jscudiero@ep.com, or Scott Bishop, Senior Labor Counsel, at 818.955.4336 or sbishop@ep.com. Thank you.


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April 10, 2014

You might have recently heard about a security issue called the Heartbleed Bug . This bug affects secure website connections that keep your information protected in transit.

We would like to assure you that our Information Technology and Security teams have tested our applications and have found no vulnerabilities to this bug. This applies to any and all Entertainment Partners applications.

You may wish to take personal measures to help safeguard your data by changing your password to websites you may have visited recently.


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California Earned Sick Leave Act Taking Effect July 1, 2015

This page about California Sick Leave is being updated. In the meantime, please refer to the California Labor Commissioner’s webpage at the following link for more information about California Sick Leave: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Paid_Sick_Leave.htm. Please note that your union may have different rules for California Sick Leave and you should contact the Labor Relations department at your studio/production company with questions about your union’s rules.


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California Sick Leave FAQs

This page about California Sick Leave is being updated. In the meantime, please refer to the California Labor Commissioner’s webpage at the following link for more information about California Sick Leave: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Paid_Sick_Leave.htm. Please note that your union may have different rules for California Sick Leave and you should contact the Labor Relations department at your studio/production company with questions about your union’s rules.


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Check Stub Changes

Our payroll checks and check stubs have a new look and feel and include new features. We’ve simplified the layout and have made updates to conform to industry standards.

  • The check itself now serves as the outward facing document and will show through the envelope window. This affects the way checks need to be folded. If you use a folding machine, you may be required to change the settings on the machine.
  • Additional detail is now included on check stubs, including mandatory California Sick Leave Act leave balance information, Year to Date totals, and work days per resident state.
  • We’ve added a number of security features to protect against check fraud.

** If you have not yet received new check stock or envelopes, please contact your Paymaster. **

Here’s a quick tip for folding our new check format if you’re using old check stock.


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How to Check the Status of California Corporations

To check the status of a California corporation or a corporation doing business in California visit the Secretary of State’s Business Search website.


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How to Check the Status of California Corporations

To check the status of a California corporation or a corporation doing business in California visit the website.


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How to Find U.S. and International Per Diems

Per diem is the allowance for lodging (excluding taxes) meals and incidental expenses. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) establishes per diem rates for destinations within the Continental United States (CONUS). The State Department establishes the foreign rates (for example Russia, Aruba, Bahamas, Europe, etc.). The Department of Defense (DOD) establishes non-foreign rates such as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Click on a link below to search for per diem rates:

  • Continental U.S. Per Diem Rates – CONUS
  • Outside the Continental U.S. – OCONUS
  • Foreign

For per diems frequently asked questions (FAQs), visit the U.S. General Services Administration website.


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January 2014

Labor Relations Updates

Legal Updates: The Affordable Care Act

Legal Updates: California

Legal Updates: New York

EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts


Labor Relations Updates

Several key industry Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) will be expiring in 2014. Please check our Paymaster Updates page for contract updates.

  • AFTRA Network Code Agreement expires November 15, 2014
  • AFTRA Exhibit A and CW Supplement expire June 30, 2014
  • DGA Basic and FLTTA Agreements expire June 30, 2014. A tentative agreement has been reached and ratification is pending. Please check our Paymaster Updates page for contract updates.
  • SAG Basic and TV Agreements expire June 30, 2014
  • WGA Basic Agreement expires May 1, 2014
  • DGA Commercial Agreement expires November 30, 2014

In addition to the CBA expirations, the following key CBA changes will occur in 2014:

  • Area Standards Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014
    • $5.00 per day benefit increase effective August 3, 2014
  • IATSE Basic Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014
  • IATSE Digital Supplement
    • 2% wage increase for digital recordings to which the wage scales in the IATSE Basic Agreement and West Coast Studio Locals apply effective August 3, 2014
    • 2% wage increase for digital recordings to which the wage scales in the IATSE Videotape Basic Agreement apply effective September 28, 2014
  • IATSE Videotape Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective September 28, 2014
  • Los Angeles Basic Crafts Agreements (Locals 40, 78, 399 Drivers, 724, and 755)
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014
  • Local 399/817 Casting Director Agreement
    • Minimum salary rate for Associate Casting Directors employed on TV motion pictures increases to $11.22 per hour effective September 28, 2014
    • The base for IAP% calculations increases as follows:
      • $3,080 for Casting Directors employed on theatrical motion pictures effective September 28, 2014
      • $2,550 for Casting Directors employed on TV motion pictures effective September 28, 2014
  • Local 399 Location Managers Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014


Legal Update: The Affordable Care Act

Many components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect January 1, 2014. Learn more about what your company can do now to become compliant:

Notice of Exchange

The Notice of Exchange (NOE) requirement took effect October 1, 2013. The NOE notifies employees whether or not your company will offer compliant health coverage to full-time employees. EP has created a quick and easy way for your company to generate your NOE template yourself.

Individual Mandate

The ACA individual mandate requires legal residents to obtain health care coverage beginning January 1, 2014 or face a penalty. Visit EP’s ACA for Production Workers page for additional details surrounding penalties for non-compliance, insurance exchanges, and supplemental information about the ACA.

Employer Mandate

The ACA employer mandate, taking effect January 1, 2015, requires all businesses averaging at least 50 full-time employees or their full-time equivalents (FTEs) during a calendar year to offer substantially all of their full-time employees health insurance that satisfies the affordability and minimum value requirements of the ACA or be subject to a penalty tax. Visit EP’s ACA for Production Companies page for additional details.

What Your Company Can Do Now

  1. Stay on top of evolving legislation and obligations.
  2. Begin taking steps to comply with 2015 ACA employer mandate obligations.
    • Analyze the impact of ACA coverage on your production company and whether your company will “play or pay” in 2015. Email aca@ep.com to request an ACA Workforce Report every few months to monitor and track the number of full-time employees for your company.
    • Review your company organizational structure to determine whether to count employee hours across related entities. The ACA requires “large employers” (i.e., those employing on average at least 50 full-time employee equivalents) that are part of a “controlled group” to count employees as if all related companies within the controlled group constitute a single entity.
  3. Reach out to EP’s ACA Consultative Experts to discuss how EP can help you track and report employee data, submit reports to the government, model the impact of “play or pay” scenarios, and determine whether to offer insurance in 2015. Consider EP Cares™, EP’s new, low-cost, and ACA-compliant insurance offering through Anthem Blue Cross, designed specifically for your non-union workforce.

IRS Reporting Regulations Issued

The IRS recently issued proposed regulations on new reporting obligations under Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code, for health insurance “providers” and “large employers” regarding the individual and employer mandates under the ACA.

With regard to the individual mandate, health insurance providers (including certain self-insured employers) must report to the IRS: (1) the name, address and taxpayer identification number (TIN) of each individual with minimum essential coverage; (2) the name, address and TIN of the “primary insured” with respect to the coverage; and (3) for each covered individual, the months for which coverage was provided. Reporting is based on a calendar year and health insurance providers must also furnish a statement (similar to a W-2) to each primary insured with the pertinent information to the insured. The purpose of the health insurance provider reporting requirement is to allow both the IRS and a covered individual to determine whether any individual mandate penalty tax should be reported and paid when the individual files his or her personal federal income tax return. Tax reporting will begin in 2016 for the 2015 tax year.

With regard to the employer mandate, employers subject to the mandate (i.e., those averaging at least 50 full-time employees and equivalents during the prior calendar year) must report to the IRS: (1) employer contact information and the calendar year of coverage; (2) a certification as to whether the employer offered its full-time employees (and dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an employer-sponsored plan; (3) the number of full-time employees for each month of the calendar year; (4) the name, address and TIN of each full-time employee during the calendar year and the months, if any, during which that employee was covered under any employer-sponsored group health plan; and (5) if minimum essential coverage under an employer-sponsored plan was offered, (a) the months during the calendar year for which coverage was available and (b) each full-time employee’s share of the lowest cost monthly premium for self-only coverage providing minimum value, by calendar month.

The IRS will also require covered employers to furnish a statement (similar to a W-2) to each full-time employee with generally the same information provided to the IRS with respect to such employee. The main purpose of the employer reporting requirement is for the IRS to determine whether employers are complying with the employer mandate or are subject to the penalty tax. Required reporting will begin in 2016 for the 2015 tax year.

These reporting requirements could change when the IRS eventually issues final regulations. More information will follow as EP studies these regulations and how they apply to the entertainment industry.


Legal Updates: California

California Coogan Accounts No Longer Required for Minors Providing Background Acting Services

Starting January 1, 2014, employers of child performers in California will no longer be required to set aside 15% of each minor’s earnings into a blocked trust account if the minor is rendering services as an extra, background performer, or in a similar capacity. Central Casting supported the reform by providing information to the legislature explaining why minors who provide background acting services and work very limited amounts per year should be exempted from the existing law.


California Minimum Wage Increase in 2014 and 2016

California’s minimum wage will rise to $9 per hour starting July 1, 2014, and to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Current California minimum wage is $8 per hour, and the legislation represents California’s first state minimum wage increase in over five years. Absent sister state minimum wage hikes, California’s $10 minimum wage floor would represent the highest state minimum wage nationwide. Federal law minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.

The California minimum wage increase not only affects employer labor costs for those work populations paid the legal minimum, but also those salaried workers exempt from California overtime under “white collar” exemptions, covering managers, professionals, and administrators. The minimum salary requirement is twice the monthly California minimum wage, which currently equals a monthly salary floor of $2,773.33 ($33,280 annually). As a result of the 2014 and 2016 minimum wage increases, the monthly salary minimums will increase to $3,120 starting July 1, 2014 ($37,440 annually), and $3,466.66 ($41,600 annually), respectively. Employers in California are encouraged to conduct compensation reviews of their salaried exempt personnel in anticipation of the state’s upcoming minimum wage increases.


Increase in California’s Earnings Exemption from Garnishment as of July 1, 2013

Effective July 1, 2013, California law protects 40 hours’ weekly pay at California minimum wage from garnishment, which equals $320 weekly pay (assuming $8 hourly minimum wage). Before July 2013, California followed the federal exemption of 30 hours’ weekly pay at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour ($217.50 weekly exemption). The minimum wage increases in California explained above will also affect the garnishment earnings exemption. The general civil garnishment cap (excluding family support or tax levies) on employee earnings remains at 25% of pay after taxes or other legally-required withholdings. For those workers paid near minimum wage, the maximum withholdable amount remains the lesser of 25% of after-tax pay or the excess above the minimum wage exemptions. Employers should review their payroll systems to ensure compliance with garnishment ceilings.


“Do Not Track” Amendment to California’s Online Privacy Protection Act

The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) requires operators of a website or online service to post a privacy policy with specific disclosures if they collect personally identifiable information from consumers in California. Beginning January 1, 2014, companies will need to disclose within their privacy policies: (1) how they respond to a web browser signal such as Do Not Track or another mechanism that provides consumers with choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information; and (2) whether third parties collect data through the company’s website or online service. Companies subject to CalOPPA will need to update their privacy policies by January 1, 2014.


California Increases Overtime Exemption Rate for Computer Software Employees

California Labor Code Section 515.5 provides that certain computer software employees are exempt from state overtime requirements if they meet certain criteria. On October 18, 2013, the California Department of Industrial Relations released an update to the hourly rate and minimum salary requirement adjustment for exempt computer software employees. Effective January 1, 2014, the new minimum hourly rate of pay exemption will increase to $40.38, the minimum monthly salary exemption from $6,927.75 to $7,010.88, and the minimum annual salary exemption from $83,132.92 to $84,130.53. These rates are calculated using the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The 2014 rate changes reflect the 1.2% increase in the CCPI.


California Wage Replacement Program Expands July 1, 2014

The new legislation, which goes into effect July 1, 2014, expands the type of family members for whom an employee may seek wage replacement benefits under California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL). It, however, does not place any new mandates on employers or change the fact that PFL is not by itself a protected leave of absence from work and does not provide employees with an independent right to take a leave of absence if an employer does not approve the leave.

PFL provides partial wage replacement for California workers. Before this new law, with employer approval, an employee could only seek wage replacement benefits under PFL if the employee was on an approved leave of absence to (1) bond with a child, or (2) to care for a serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner. Starting July 1, 2014, with employer approval, employees will have the right to obtain wage replacement benefits while caring for the serious health condition of additional family members: a grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law.


California Shade Penalty

Pursuant to Cal/OSHA guidelines, meal and rest break rules are expanded to incorporate “recovery” periods for employees working outdoors in temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Those employees are entitled to cool down periods, as needed, in a shaded area to avoid overheating. The penalty for noncompliance is one hour of missed pay per occurrence – the same as a missed meal or rest break. Employers are encouraged to have a policy in place to cover this shade requirement and have adequate shade and seating available to employees working outdoors.


Expanded California Anti-Retaliation Law Takes Effect January 1, 2014

California law expanding anti-retaliation and unfair immigration-related practices goes into effect January 1, 2014. If an employee engages in protected conduct, the employer may not take adverse action against the employee by engaging in an unfair immigration-related practice. Unfair immigration-related practices include: requesting special documentation of immigration status or refusing to honor specific documents; using E-Verify in a manner not required or authorized by government; threatening to file or filing a false police report; and threatening to contact or contacting immigration authorities.

California is also expanding its whistleblower protections. Current law prevents an employer from retaliating against an employee who files a complaint with a government agency regarding an alleged violation. The new law will additionally prevent an employer from retaliating against an employee who makes an internal complaint, discloses information to his or her employer, or participates in a government body’s investigation, hearing, or inquiry. Further, the law prevents employer retaliation when the employer believed the employee may have complained or disclosed information.

Penalties against employers can be severe. Employees will have a private right of action against his or her employer to seek reimbursement of lost wages, reinstatement, penalties, and attorney’s fees. Additionally, each violation can be punishable by a civil penalty of up to $10,000. A court may also suspend all licenses held by the employer under the Department of Consumer Affairs.


San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance Takes Effect January 1, 2014

San Francisco became the first municipality to adopt a “right to request” ordinance, which formalizes an employee’s ability to request workplace flexibility. The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2014, and applies to all employers in San Francisco with 20 or more employees, except as to those employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement expressly waiving these rights.

Employees may submit a written request for a flexible or predictable working arrangement to assist with various familial caregiving responsibilities. A flexible working arrangement includes a modified work schedule, telecommuting, job share arrangements, or changes or reduction in work duties. A predictable working arrangement is a change in employee’s terms and conditions of employment that provides scheduling predictability to assist with caregiving responsibilities. Employees may make such request twice every 12 months, with the potential for additional requests. Employers may reject such requests for legitimate business purposes.


Supervisor Improper Disclosure of Employee’s Medical Condition Violates Employee’s Right to Privacy

A recent California case reinforces the importance of preserving the confidentiality of employee’s private matters. In Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. (2013) 214 Cal. App. 4th 808, the California Court of Appeals found a supervisor violated her employee’s common law right to privacy by telling everyone in the employee’s department about the employee’s medical condition. The court found that the employee’s medical condition was a private fact, and even though the supervisor only orally told the other employees about the medical condition and nothing was disclosed in writing, it was enough for the employee to successfully sue both the company and her direct supervisor.

This case serves as an example of why it is important for employers to keep employees’ private information confidential. Employers should only disclose such information to those employees who have a legitimate, business-related need for the private information. And even then, no one should further disclose the information.


Legal Updates: New York

New York’s Exhaustive Child Performer Regulations Currently in Effect

The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) issued child performer regulations that took effect April 1, 2013. Among other provisions, the new regulations establish set work hours and mandatory meal periods for minors based on the minor’s age. In addition, child performers must obtain a Child Performer Permit (and employers must obtain a corresponding permit for the minor) from the DOL. This permit must include a physical description of the child, certification of the child’s physical fitness, and an acknowledgement that a parent or guardian has reviewed eating disorder information on the DOL’s website. Additionally, a “responsible person” (generally a parent or parent’s appointee) must accommodate child performers under 16 years-old throughout the work day.

Employers must provide a nurse with pediatric practice experience and supervision by a “responsible person.” Employers must also transfer 15% of a minor’s earnings to a trust account for each minor that must be established, similar to California. Regardless of where minors are schooled, employers must provide time, facilities, and credentialed teachers on location when the minors’ working schedule prevents them from fulfilling their educational requirements outside of work. Employers also must provide safety instructions to the minor and “responsible person” and obtain minors’ emergency contact and authorization to perform emergency medical treatment.

Additional employer requirements include maintaining records for the minor’s working history and providing a “Notice of Use” to the DOL via fax at least two business days before the minor’s employment begins (this does not apply to employers of groups of performers). Employers can apply for a variance with the DOL for any of the regulations they claim creates a hardship.

The full text of this new law can be found on the DOL’s website.


New York Establishes Regulations for Employee Wage Deduction Authorizations

As of October 9, 2013, these new regulations address how employers may make certain types of deductions from employee wages. These regulations address three types of permissible deductions: (1) those for the employee’s benefit; (2) those for recovering overpayments due to clerical or mathematical error; and (3) those for the repayment of advances. Employers must retain any employee deduction authorizations for at least six years after the employee’s employment ends. Employers may provide employees with all documents required by the regulations either in writing or through electronic means.

Employers with a workforce in New York should consult their independent legal advisors for more specific information and for further guidance on how this new law may affect their employee deduction practices.

An exhaustive list of allowable deductions can be found via the New York Department of Labor’s website.


New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act Takes Effect April 1, 2014

Over the next two years, certain employers will be required to provide their employees who work in New York City for more than 80 hours in a calendar year up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The law implements its provisions over time. Employers with at least 20 employees must provide paid sick leave starting on April 1, 2014 (contingent upon a determination of New York City’s financial status as of December 16, 2013), and employers with between 15 and 19 employees must provide paid sick leave effective October 1, 2015. All other employers must provide five unpaid sick days per year. The law recognizes that many employers already provide their employees paid vacation or paid time off, and it does not require those employers to provide additional paid sick time, provided that the leave may be used for purposes set forth in the law.

Certain coverage exemptions apply, including employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement if such provision is expressly waived in the agreement and provides for a “comparable benefit” of paid days off. Employers of New York City labor should consult with their own legal advisors for more information on this complex law.


EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts

Michael Wofford
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
mwofford@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6018

Joseph Scudiero
Senior Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel
jscudiero@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4335

Scott Bishop
Senior Labor Counsel
sbishop@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4336

Bob Pucher
Vice President, Labor Relations
rpucher@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6166

Edward Pak
Corporate Counsel
epak@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4408

Molly McLucas
Corporate Counsel
mmclucas@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4340


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Labor Relations and Legal Newsletter — January 2014

Labor Relations Updates

Legal Updates: The Affordable Care Act

Legal Updates: California

Legal Updates: New York

EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts


Labor Relations Updates

Several key industry Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) will be expiring in 2014. Please check our Paymaster Updates page for contract updates.

  • AFTRA Network Code Agreement expires November 15, 2014
  • AFTRA Exhibit A and CW Supplement expire June 30, 2014
  • DGA Basic and FLTTA Agreements expire June 30, 2014. A tentative agreement has been reached and ratification is pending. Please check our Paymaster Updates page for contract updates.
  • SAG Basic and TV Agreements expire June 30, 2014
  • WGA Basic Agreement expires May 1, 2014
  • DGA Commercial Agreement expires November 30, 2014

In addition to the CBA expirations, the following key CBA changes will occur in 2014:

  • Area Standards Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014
    • $5.00 per day benefit increase effective August 3, 2014
  • IATSE Basic Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014
  • IATSE Digital Supplement
    • 2% wage increase for digital recordings to which the wage scales in the IATSE Basic Agreement and West Coast Studio Locals apply effective August 3, 2014
    • 2% wage increase for digital recordings to which the wage scales in the IATSE Videotape Basic Agreement apply effective September 28, 2014
  • IATSE Videotape Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective September 28, 2014
  • Los Angeles Basic Crafts Agreements (Locals 40, 78, 399 Drivers, 724, and 755)
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014
  • Local 399/817 Casting Director Agreement
    • Minimum salary rate for Associate Casting Directors employed on TV motion pictures increases to $11.22 per hour effective September 28, 2014
    • The base for IAP% calculations increases as follows:
      • $3,080 for Casting Directors employed on theatrical motion pictures effective September 28, 2014
      • $2,550 for Casting Directors employed on TV motion pictures effective September 28, 2014
  • Local 399 Location Managers Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective August 3, 2014


Legal Update: The Affordable Care Act

Many components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) take effect January 1, 2014. Learn more about what your company can do now to become compliant:

Notice of Exchange

The Notice of Exchange (NOE) requirement took effect October 1, 2013. The NOE notifies employees whether or not your company will offer compliant health coverage to full-time employees. EP has created a quick and easy way for your company to generate your NOE template yourself.

Individual Mandate

The ACA individual mandate requires legal residents to obtain health care coverage beginning January 1, 2014 or face a penalty. Visit EP’s ACA for Production Workers page for additional details surrounding penalties for non-compliance, insurance exchanges, and supplemental information about the ACA.

Employer Mandate

The ACA employer mandate, taking effect January 1, 2015, requires all businesses averaging at least 50 full-time employees or their full-time equivalents (FTEs) during a calendar year to offer substantially all of their full-time employees health insurance that satisfies the affordability and minimum value requirements of the ACA or be subject to a penalty tax. Visit EP’s ACA for Production Companies page for additional details.

What Your Company Can Do Now

  1. Stay on top of evolving legislation and obligations.
  2. Begin taking steps to comply with 2015 ACA employer mandate obligations.
    • Analyze the impact of ACA coverage on your production company and whether your company will “play or pay” in 2015. Email aca@ep.com to request an ACA Workforce Report every few months to monitor and track the number of full-time employees for your company.
    • Review your company organizational structure to determine whether to count employee hours across related entities. The ACA requires “large employers” (i.e., those employing on average at least 50 full-time employee equivalents) that are part of a “controlled group” to count employees as if all related companies within the controlled group constitute a single entity.
  3. Reach out to EP’s ACA Consultative Experts to discuss how EP can help you track and report employee data, submit reports to the government, model the impact of “play or pay” scenarios, and determine whether to offer insurance in 2015. Consider EP Cares™, EP’s new, low-cost, and ACA-compliant insurance offering through Anthem Blue Cross, designed specifically for your non-union workforce.

IRS Reporting Regulations Issued

The IRS recently issued proposed regulations on new reporting obligations under Sections 6055 and 6056 of the Internal Revenue Code, for health insurance “providers” and “large employers” regarding the individual and employer mandates under the ACA.

With regard to the individual mandate, health insurance providers (including certain self-insured employers) must report to the IRS: (1) the name, address and taxpayer identification number (TIN) of each individual with minimum essential coverage; (2) the name, address and TIN of the “primary insured” with respect to the coverage; and (3) for each covered individual, the months for which coverage was provided. Reporting is based on a calendar year and health insurance providers must also furnish a statement (similar to a W-2) to each primary insured with the pertinent information to the insured. The purpose of the health insurance provider reporting requirement is to allow both the IRS and a covered individual to determine whether any individual mandate penalty tax should be reported and paid when the individual files his or her personal federal income tax return. Tax reporting will begin in 2016 for the 2015 tax year.

With regard to the employer mandate, employers subject to the mandate (i.e., those averaging at least 50 full-time employees and equivalents during the prior calendar year) must report to the IRS: (1) employer contact information and the calendar year of coverage; (2) a certification as to whether the employer offered its full-time employees (and dependents) the opportunity to enroll in minimum essential coverage under an employer-sponsored plan; (3) the number of full-time employees for each month of the calendar year; (4) the name, address and TIN of each full-time employee during the calendar year and the months, if any, during which that employee was covered under any employer-sponsored group health plan; and (5) if minimum essential coverage under an employer-sponsored plan was offered, (a) the months during the calendar year for which coverage was available and (b) each full-time employee’s share of the lowest cost monthly premium for self-only coverage providing minimum value, by calendar month.

The IRS will also require covered employers to furnish a statement (similar to a W-2) to each full-time employee with generally the same information provided to the IRS with respect to such employee. The main purpose of the employer reporting requirement is for the IRS to determine whether employers are complying with the employer mandate or are subject to the penalty tax. Required reporting will begin in 2016 for the 2015 tax year.

These reporting requirements could change when the IRS eventually issues final regulations. More information will follow as EP studies these regulations and how they apply to the entertainment industry.


Legal Updates: California

California Coogan Accounts No Longer Required for Minors Providing Background Acting Services

Starting January 1, 2014, employers of child performers in California will no longer be required to set aside 15% of each minor’s earnings into a blocked trust account if the minor is rendering services as an extra, background performer, or in a similar capacity. Central Casting supported the reform by providing information to the legislature explaining why minors who provide background acting services and work very limited amounts per year should be exempted from the existing law.


California Minimum Wage Increase in 2014 and 2016

California’s minimum wage will rise to $9 per hour starting July 1, 2014, and to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Current California minimum wage is $8 per hour, and the legislation represents California’s first state minimum wage increase in over five years. Absent sister state minimum wage hikes, California’s $10 minimum wage floor would represent the highest state minimum wage nationwide. Federal law minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour.

The California minimum wage increase not only affects employer labor costs for those work populations paid the legal minimum, but also those salaried workers exempt from California overtime under “white collar” exemptions, covering managers, professionals, and administrators. The minimum salary requirement is twice the monthly California minimum wage, which currently equals a monthly salary floor of $2,773.33 ($33,280 annually). As a result of the 2014 and 2016 minimum wage increases, the monthly salary minimums will increase to $3,120 starting July 1, 2014 ($37,440 annually), and $3,466.66 ($41,600 annually), respectively. Employers in California are encouraged to conduct compensation reviews of their salaried exempt personnel in anticipation of the state’s upcoming minimum wage increases.


Increase in California’s Earnings Exemption from Garnishment as of July 1, 2013

Effective July 1, 2013, California law protects 40 hours’ weekly pay at California minimum wage from garnishment, which equals $320 weekly pay (assuming $8 hourly minimum wage). Before July 2013, California followed the federal exemption of 30 hours’ weekly pay at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour ($217.50 weekly exemption). The minimum wage increases in California explained above will also affect the garnishment earnings exemption. The general civil garnishment cap (excluding family support or tax levies) on employee earnings remains at 25% of pay after taxes or other legally-required withholdings. For those workers paid near minimum wage, the maximum withholdable amount remains the lesser of 25% of after-tax pay or the excess above the minimum wage exemptions. Employers should review their payroll systems to ensure compliance with garnishment ceilings.


“Do Not Track” Amendment to California’s Online Privacy Protection Act

The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA) requires operators of a website or online service to post a privacy policy with specific disclosures if they collect personally identifiable information from consumers in California. Beginning January 1, 2014, companies will need to disclose within their privacy policies: (1) how they respond to a web browser signal such as Do Not Track or another mechanism that provides consumers with choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information; and (2) whether third parties collect data through the company’s website or online service. Companies subject to CalOPPA will need to update their privacy policies by January 1, 2014.


California Increases Overtime Exemption Rate for Computer Software Employees

California Labor Code Section 515.5 provides that certain computer software employees are exempt from state overtime requirements if they meet certain criteria. On October 18, 2013, the California Department of Industrial Relations released an update to the hourly rate and minimum salary requirement adjustment for exempt computer software employees. Effective January 1, 2014, the new minimum hourly rate of pay exemption will increase to $40.38, the minimum monthly salary exemption from $6,927.75 to $7,010.88, and the minimum annual salary exemption from $83,132.92 to $84,130.53. These rates are calculated using the California Consumer Price Index (CCPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The 2014 rate changes reflect the 1.2% increase in the CCPI.


California Wage Replacement Program Expands July 1, 2014

The new legislation, which goes into effect July 1, 2014, expands the type of family members for whom an employee may seek wage replacement benefits under California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL). It, however, does not place any new mandates on employers or change the fact that PFL is not by itself a protected leave of absence from work and does not provide employees with an independent right to take a leave of absence if an employer does not approve the leave.

PFL provides partial wage replacement for California workers. Before this new law, with employer approval, an employee could only seek wage replacement benefits under PFL if the employee was on an approved leave of absence to (1) bond with a child, or (2) to care for a serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner. Starting July 1, 2014, with employer approval, employees will have the right to obtain wage replacement benefits while caring for the serious health condition of additional family members: a grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law.


California Shade Penalty

Pursuant to Cal/OSHA guidelines, meal and rest break rules are expanded to incorporate “recovery” periods for employees working outdoors in temperatures exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Those employees are entitled to cool down periods, as needed, in a shaded area to avoid overheating. The penalty for noncompliance is one hour of missed pay per occurrence – the same as a missed meal or rest break. Employers are encouraged to have a policy in place to cover this shade requirement and have adequate shade and seating available to employees working outdoors.


Expanded California Anti-Retaliation Law Takes Effect January 1, 2014

California law expanding anti-retaliation and unfair immigration-related practices goes into effect January 1, 2014. If an employee engages in protected conduct, the employer may not take adverse action against the employee by engaging in an unfair immigration-related practice. Unfair immigration-related practices include: requesting special documentation of immigration status or refusing to honor specific documents; using E-Verify in a manner not required or authorized by government; threatening to file or filing a false police report; and threatening to contact or contacting immigration authorities.

California is also expanding its whistleblower protections. Current law prevents an employer from retaliating against an employee who files a complaint with a government agency regarding an alleged violation. The new law will additionally prevent an employer from retaliating against an employee who makes an internal complaint, discloses information to his or her employer, or participates in a government body’s investigation, hearing, or inquiry. Further, the law prevents employer retaliation when the employer believed the employee may have complained or disclosed information.

Penalties against employers can be severe. Employees will have a private right of action against his or her employer to seek reimbursement of lost wages, reinstatement, penalties, and attorney’s fees. Additionally, each violation can be punishable by a civil penalty of up to $10,000. A court may also suspend all licenses held by the employer under the Department of Consumer Affairs.


San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance Takes Effect January 1, 2014

San Francisco became the first municipality to adopt a “right to request” ordinance, which formalizes an employee’s ability to request workplace flexibility. The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance takes effect January 1, 2014, and applies to all employers in San Francisco with 20 or more employees, except as to those employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement expressly waiving these rights.

Employees may submit a written request for a flexible or predictable working arrangement to assist with various familial caregiving responsibilities. A flexible working arrangement includes a modified work schedule, telecommuting, job share arrangements, or changes or reduction in work duties. A predictable working arrangement is a change in employee’s terms and conditions of employment that provides scheduling predictability to assist with caregiving responsibilities. Employees may make such request twice every 12 months, with the potential for additional requests. Employers may reject such requests for legitimate business purposes.


Supervisor Improper Disclosure of Employee’s Medical Condition Violates Employee’s Right to Privacy

A recent California case reinforces the importance of preserving the confidentiality of employee’s private matters. In Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. (2013) 214 Cal. App. 4th 808, the California Court of Appeals found a supervisor violated her employee’s common law right to privacy by telling everyone in the employee’s department about the employee’s medical condition. The court found that the employee’s medical condition was a private fact, and even though the supervisor only orally told the other employees about the medical condition and nothing was disclosed in writing, it was enough for the employee to successfully sue both the company and her direct supervisor.

This case serves as an example of why it is important for employers to keep employees’ private information confidential. Employers should only disclose such information to those employees who have a legitimate, business-related need for the private information. And even then, no one should further disclose the information.


Legal Updates: New York

New York’s Exhaustive Child Performer Regulations Currently in Effect

The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) issued child performer regulations that took effect April 1, 2013. Among other provisions, the new regulations establish set work hours and mandatory meal periods for minors based on the minor’s age. In addition, child performers must obtain a Child Performer Permit (and employers must obtain a corresponding permit for the minor) from the DOL. This permit must include a physical description of the child, certification of the child’s physical fitness, and an acknowledgement that a parent or guardian has reviewed eating disorder information on the DOL’s website. Additionally, a “responsible person” (generally a parent or parent’s appointee) must accommodate child performers under 16 years-old throughout the work day.

Employers must provide a nurse with pediatric practice experience and supervision by a “responsible person.” Employers must also transfer 15% of a minor’s earnings to a trust account for each minor that must be established, similar to California. Regardless of where minors are schooled, employers must provide time, facilities, and credentialed teachers on location when the minors’ working schedule prevents them from fulfilling their educational requirements outside of work. Employers also must provide safety instructions to the minor and “responsible person” and obtain minors’ emergency contact and authorization to perform emergency medical treatment.

Additional employer requirements include maintaining records for the minor’s working history and providing a “Notice of Use” to the DOL via fax at least two business days before the minor’s employment begins (this does not apply to employers of groups of performers). Employers can apply for a variance with the DOL for any of the regulations they claim creates a hardship.

The full text of this new law can be found on the DOL’s website.


New York Establishes Regulations for Employee Wage Deduction Authorizations

As of October 9, 2013, these new regulations address how employers may make certain types of deductions from employee wages. These regulations address three types of permissible deductions: (1) those for the employee’s benefit; (2) those for recovering overpayments due to clerical or mathematical error; and (3) those for the repayment of advances. Employers must retain any employee deduction authorizations for at least six years after the employee’s employment ends. Employers may provide employees with all documents required by the regulations either in writing or through electronic means.

Employers with a workforce in New York should consult their independent legal advisors for more specific information and for further guidance on how this new law may affect their employee deduction practices.

An exhaustive list of allowable deductions can be found via the New York Department of Labor’s website.


New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act Takes Effect April 1, 2014

Over the next two years, certain employers will be required to provide their employees who work in New York City for more than 80 hours in a calendar year up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. The law implements its provisions over time. Employers with at least 20 employees must provide paid sick leave starting on April 1, 2014 (contingent upon a determination of New York City’s financial status as of December 16, 2013), and employers with between 15 and 19 employees must provide paid sick leave effective October 1, 2015. All other employers must provide five unpaid sick days per year. The law recognizes that many employers already provide their employees paid vacation or paid time off, and it does not require those employers to provide additional paid sick time, provided that the leave may be used for purposes set forth in the law.

Certain coverage exemptions apply, including employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement if such provision is expressly waived in the agreement and provides for a “comparable benefit” of paid days off. Employers of New York City labor should consult with their own legal advisors for more information on this complex law.


EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts

Michael Wofford
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
mwofford@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6018

Joseph Scudiero
Senior Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel
jscudiero@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4335

Scott Bishop
Senior Labor Counsel
sbishop@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4336

Bob Pucher
Vice President, Labor Relations
rpucher@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6166

Edward Pak
Corporate Counsel
epak@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4408

Molly McLucas
Corporate Counsel
mmclucas@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4340


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Labor Relations and Legal Newsletter — January 2015

2014 ushered in a number of multi-state and federal legal and labor relations developments. We have highlighted some salient changes taking effect during 2015 below. The material recapped in this newsletter is general information we are providing as a courtesy on subjects that may be of interest to you. We encourage you to consult with your legal advisors about application and handling of these law changes to your organization’s specific circumstances.

In this issue…

Labor Relations Updates

Multi-State Law Updates

Legal Updates: Federal

Legal Updates: California

Legal Updates: New York

EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts


Labor Relations Updates

Collective Bargaining Agreement Expirations

Multiple key crew-based collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) will be expiring in 2015. Please check our Paymaster Updates page for contract developments.

CBA Expiration Date
New York Studio Mechanics, Majors Local 52 Agreement May 15, 2015
New York Studio Mechanics, Majors Local 52 Supplemental Digital Production Agreement May 15, 2015
IATSE Basic Agreement July 31, 2015
IATSE Area Standards Agreement July 31, 2015
Local 399 Location Managers Agreement July 31, 2015
Basic Crafts Agreements (Local 399 Drivers, Local 40 IBEW, Local 755 Plasterers, Local 724 Laborers, and Local 78 Plumbers) July 31, 2015
IATSE Supplemental Digital Production Agreement September 30, 2015
IATSE Videotape Agreement September 30, 2015
United Scenic Artists, Local USA-829 Majors Agreement September 30, 2015
Casting Directors (Locals 399 and 817) Agreement September 30, 2015

Collective Bargaining Agreement Changes

Apart from the referenced CBA expirations, key CBA changes will occur in 2015 for the following groups and agreements:

  • MPIPHP Rate Group 43
    • Effective March 22, 2015, the MPIPHP Rate Group 43 contributions for employees working under an East Coast Agreement with Local 600, Local 700, Local 52, Local 161, or Local 817 (Location Managers/Scouts), or any Agreement that contains rates that are based upon the hourly cost of benefits per Participant will increase to $12.586 per hour in addition to the applicable IAP percentage contribution. Please note that the above rate does not apply to Employers or their related entities which have made Supplemental Markets payments in excess of $15,000,000 over a three-year period.

  • WGA Basic Agreement
    • Minimum rates increase May 2, 2015.

  • DGA Basic and FLTTA Agreements
    • Salary rates increase July 1, 2015.
    • The excerpt fees shall be increased one time by three percent (3.0%). Lead-in fees shall be increased to $109. Underwater work allowance shall be increased to $175. Aircraft flight allowance shall be increased to $175. Dinner allowance shall be increased to $29. Incidental allowance shall be increased to $21. The wrap supervision fee shall be increased to $55. These increases take effect on July 1, 2015.

  • SAG-AFTRA Basic and TV Agreements
    • Salary rates increase July 1, 2015.
    • Money Breaks:
      • Increase to the money breaks in subparagraphs (A)(2) and (B)(2)(b) of Section 16 (“Fittings, Wardrobe Tests, Make-up Tests”) of Schedule A of the 2011 SAG Codified Basic Agreement from $1,000 per day to $1,200 per day with respect to contracts entered into with performers on or after July 1, 2015.
      • Increase to the caps on sixth and seventh day premiums in Section 9 of Schedule C and Sections 3, 4, and 5 of Schedule F of the 2011 SAG Codified Basic Agreement from $475 to $500, $950 to $1,000, and $1,425 to $1,500 with respect to contracts entered into with performers on or after July 1, 2015.
      • Increase to the money break in Section 24 of the 2011 SAG Television Agreement from $8,500 per episode or per week to $9,000 per episode or per week with respect to contracts entered into with performers on or after July 1, 2015.
      • Increase to the money break in Section 18(d)(3) of the 2011 SAG Television Agreement at which advance payment for “all other residual purposes (e.g., syndication, non-primetime network, theatrical and foreign)” is permitted from $8,000 per week or per episode to $9,000 per week or per episode with respect to contracts entered into with performers on or after July 1, 2015.
    • Schedule Breaks:
      • Increase to the schedule breaks in Schedules B and C of the 2011 SAG Codified Basic Agreement from $4,800 per week to $5,000 per week for television motion pictures with respect to contracts entered into with performers on or after July 1, 2015.
      • Increase to the schedule breaks in Schedules D, E, G, H, I, and J of the 2011 SAG Codified Basic Agreement from $6,000 per week to $6,200 per week for theatrical motion pictures and from $4,650 per week to $5,000 per week for television motion pictures, both with respect to contracts entered into with performers on or after July 1, 2015.

  • Local 817 Drivers Majors Agreement
    • 2% wage rate increase effective November 1, 2015.
    • Meal expenses within Article 8(d) increase by an additional $5.00 effective November 1, 2015.

  • NY IATSE Local 764 Majors Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective March 1, 2015.
    • $5.00 per day Welfare Fund increase effective March 1, 2015.

  • NY IATSE Local 798 Majors Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective March 1, 2015.
    • $5.00 per day Welfare Fund increase effective March 1, 2015.

  • NY IATSE Local 161 Majors Agreement
    • 2% wage increase effective March 1, 2015.
    • $5.00 per day Health and Welfare Fund increase effective March 1, 2015 (Articles 27(e) and 32 of the Motion Picture Theatrical and TV Series Production Agreement).

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Multi-State Law Updates

Minimum Wage Increases

Federal law minimum wage remains fixed at $7.25 per hour. A number of states and localities adopted minimum wage hikes that take effect at various times in 2015. Below is a table of jurisdictions with adopted minimum wage hikes.

State Increases
State New Minimum Wage (per hour) Increase Effective Date
Alaska $8.75 January 1, 2015
Arizona $8.05 January 1, 2015
Arkansas $7.50 January 1, 2015
Colorado $8.23 January 1, 2015
Connecticut $9.15 January 1, 2015
Delaware $8.25 June 1, 2015
District of Columbia $10.50 July 1, 2015
Florida $8.05 January 1, 2015
Hawaii $7.75 January 1, 2015
Maryland $8.00
$8.25
January 1, 2015
July 1, 2015
Massachusetts $9.00 January 1, 2015
Minnesota $9.00 (Large Employers: ≥ $500,000 annual gross revenue)

$7.25 (Small Employer: < $500,000 annual gross revenue)

August 1, 2015
Missouri $7.65 January 1, 2015
Montana $8.05 January 1, 2015
Nebraska $8.00 January 1, 2015
New Jersey $8.38 January 1, 2015
New York $8.75
$9.00
December 31, 2014
December 31, 2015
Ohio $8.10 January 1, 2015
Oregon $9.25 January 1, 2015
Rhode Island $9.00 January 1, 2015
South Dakota $8.50 January 1, 2015
Vermont $9.15 January 1, 2015
Washington $9.47 January 1, 2015
West Virginia $8.00
$8.75
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
Local Increases
City/Locality New Minimum Wage (per hour) Increase Effective Date
Albuquerque, NM $8.75
$7.75 (if employer funds at least $2,500 annually for employee health care/child care benefits and provides these benefits to the employee during any pay period)
January 1, 2015
Chicago, IL $10.00 January 1, 2015
Los Angeles County, CA $47.75 (retired L.A. County Fire Safety Advisors only) January 1, 2015
Oakland, CA $12.25 March 2, 2015
San Francisco, CA $11.05
$12.25
January 1, 2015
May 1, 2015
San Jose, CA $10.30 January 1, 2015
Seattle, WA $11.00 April 1, 2015

Sick Leave Acts

A wave of mandatory sick time laws have been adopted over the past couple of years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. The main source of legislative activity has been at the local level, but a handful of states have also enacted sick time laws. While each jurisdiction’s sick time law has its own nuances, they all share common basic concepts even if the way each law specifically addresses them varies. Common issues detailed in all sick time laws include employer coverage, employee eligibility, minimum leave entitlement, accrual rate and caps, carry-over, breaks in employment, permissible leave purposes, and worker rights notifications. Below is a table of jurisdictions with enacted sick time laws.

Sick Time Law Jurisdictions
Jurisdiction Leave Amount
(per year)
Law Effective Date Further Information
California 24 hours January 1, 2015: for rights notices

July 1, 2015: ability to accrue leave

California Sick Leave Law EP Alert

California Labor Commissioner

Oakland, CA 40-72 hours depending on employer size March 2, 2015

City of Oakland

San Diego, CA 40 hours On Hold (pending June 2016 referendum election) City of San Diego
San Francisco, CA 40-72 hours depending on employer size February 5, 2007 San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement
Connecticut 40 hours January 1, 2012 Connecticut Department of Labor
District of Columbia 24-56 hours depending on employer size November 13, 2008 D.C. Department of Employment Services
Massachusetts 40 hours July 1, 2015 Massachusetts Secretary of State
East Orange, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size January 6, 2015 City of East Orange
Irvington, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size January 7, 2015 Irvington Township
Jersey City, NJ 40 hours January 24, 2014 Jersey City
Montclair, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size March 4, 2015 Town of Montclair
Newark, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size June 21, 2014 City of Newark
Passaic, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size December 31, 2014 City of Passaic
Paterson, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size January 7, 2015 City of Paterson
Trenton, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size March 4, 2015 City of Trenton
New York, NY 40 hours April 1, 2014 New York City Sick Leave Law EP Alert

NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

Eugene, OR 40 hours July 1, 2015 City of Eugene
Portland, OR 40 hours January 1, 2014 City of Portland
Seattle, WA 40-72 hours depending on employer size September 1, 2012 Seattle Office for Civil Rights

The California sick time law passed in November 2014 deserves special mention because of the prominence of California productions and production worker populations. We wrote extensively about this law in December, and we encourage readers to visit our California Sick Leave Law Alert for further information.

Essentially, starting July 1, 2015, employees working at least 30 days within California during a year from hire date are entitled to accrue and take paid sick leave. Certain written notification and posting obligations became operative on January 1, 2015. As the employer responsible for compliance with sick time laws, production organizations should consult their legal advisors for specific strategies.

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Legal Updates: Federal

Executive Action on Immigration

In November 2014, President Obama announced an executive action that will offer over four million undocumented individuals deferral relief from deportation and the opportunity to apply for temporary work authorization, among other actions. The deferral program application process is expected to launch by mid-2015.

Basic eligibility requirements will include:

  • Minimum 5-year residency in the U.S.
  • Parentage of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Passage of criminal background screening
  • Payment of U.S. back taxes.

Employers may experience transitional difficulties as the deferral program is launched regarding the handling of disclosures by existing employees of undocumented status prior to the employee’s acceptance into the program, or associated requests for documentation to support the employee’s deferral program application. Also, employers with workers in the deferral program will need to stay abreast of program changes to avoid employment of workers outside legal boundaries.

In addition to the deferral program, President Obama’s executive action plan involves employment-based immigration reforms to improve career opportunities for work visa holders and their families and facilitate their integration into the U.S labor market for the betterment of the economy.

NLRB Finalizes Expedited Election Procedure

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has adopted rules scheduled to take effect April 14, 2015 that are intended to shorten the election life cycle for unionization of employer workforces.

The new rules are intended to accelerate union representation elections being conducted to approximately three weeks, rather than six weeks, after the filing of the union’s certification petition to organize a unit of employees. The new rules limit the issues contestable pre-election, do not permit stay of the election while contested pre-election issues are under review, and require employers to provide the union with personal email and telephone contact information of all eligible employee voters to facilitate union communication with employees sooner in the election process.

OSHA’s New Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its reporting and recordkeeping rules for all employers with two key sets of changes taking effect January 1, 2015. New reporting rules expand the universe of work-related injuries that employers must report to OSHA and accelerate the reporting time.

Specifically, workplace injuries resulting in in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss must be reported to OSHA within 24 hours of injury, while workplace deaths must be reported to OSHA within eight hours. Second, OSHA reorganized the list of low-hazard employer industries that are exempt from routine OSHA injury/illness recordkeeping and retained the small employer (10 or fewer employees) exemption from routine OSHA recordkeeping.

Employers located in California or other states that maintain their own workplace injury/illness prevention agency displacing OSHA are not impacted by these federal OSHA changes. Employers in these state-OSHA regulated jurisdictions, like California with Cal-OSHA, are typically under stricter reporting and recordkeeping rules via the state counterpart program.

ACA Employer Mandate is Now Operative

After a one year delay, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate obligating certain-sized employers to offer their eligible full-time employees affordable and adequate health insurance or pay a penalty tax took effect on January 1, 2015. For 2015, the requirements below are relaxed:

  • The employer coverage threshold is raised from 50 to 100 full-time and full-time equivalents
  • The minimum insurance offer threshold is 70% instead of 95% of full-time employees to avoid the $2,000 annual ($166.67 monthly) non-coverage penalty per full-time employee
  • The non-coverage penalty safe harbor threshold is increased to the first 80 full-time as opposed to first 30 full-time employees.

Additionally, ACA employers will need to supply information returns to the IRS and their full-time employees akin to W-2 forms soon after the close of 2015 that detail health insurance offer or exemption information.

EP has published an extensive ACA employer mandate reference booklet geared toward the entertainment industry. EP also maintains an ACA Knowledge Center. Consult these sources for further information about the ACA employer mandate.

For 2015 and beyond, production organizations will need health insurance, employment data tracking, and government reporting tools at their disposal to stay ACA employer mandate-compliant. EP’s ACA Solutions product line boasts an award-winning health insurance program – EP Cares™ – tailored to the non-union freelance segment of the production workforce and live tracking and reporting management solutions capable of pooling production organization payroll data across different payroll provider sources. Please contact our ACA Solutions team at aca@ep.com to explore your options.

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Legal Updates: California

Compensation for Heat Rest/Recovery Periods

California Labor Code Section 226.7 was amended in 2013 to prohibit employers from requiring employees to work during a recovery/rest period taken in accordance with heat illness regulations. 2014 legislation has clarified that these heat regulation rest and recovery periods are paid breaks and count as hours worked.

Late-Pay Penalty Law Change Affecting Regular Short-Term Live Stage/Concert Employees

Though existing law (California Labor Code Section 201.9) permits regular short-term theatrical and concert venue employees to enter into a CBA establishing a deadline for payment of final wages after layoff or discharge, the new law expands California Labor Code Section 203 to include these workers’ right to California Labor Code section 203 penalties (one day’s pay for each day late up to 30 days) if their employer fails to pay final wages within the agreed-CBA time period after discharge or lay-off.

Computer Professional Exemption

California Labor Code Section 515.5 provides that certain computer software employees are exempt from state overtime requirements if they meet certain criteria. The Department of Industrial Relations must adjust the pay minimums yearly in parallel with inflation to the California Consumer Price Index used for urban wage earners and clerical workers. For 2015, the new minimum hourly rate of pay exemption will increase 2.2% from $40.38 to $41.27, the minimum monthly salary exemption from $7,010.88 to $7,165.12, and the minimum annual salary exemption from $84,130.53 to $85,981.40.

Increased Liability for Employers that Contract Labor

Under new California Labor Code Section 2810.3, an employer using a labor contractor who fails to pay its workers properly or fails to provide workers’ compensation coverage to those employees can be held legally responsible and liable for the labor contractor’s compliance failures. While the list of labor contractors excludes motion picture payroll service companies like Entertainment Partners, production organizations that receive workers from temporary staffing companies or other sources of contract labor should review their arrangements with these vendor types.

Harassment Prevention Training

Current law (California Government Code Section 12950.1) requires mandatory biennial sexual harassment training and education for supervisory employees. Now, employers will need to add a component on the prevention of “abusive conduct.” Abusive conduct is defined as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.” The unusual characteristic of this legal amendment is that while abusive conduct must now be included in sexual harassment prevention training, “abusive conduct” is generalized and not connected to a sexually discriminatory motive.

Nondiscrimination for Driver’s Licenses

AB 1660 makes it a California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA) violation for an employer to discriminate against an individual because he or she holds a special driver’s license that is issued under the Vehicle Code for persons who are unable to submit satisfactory proof of identity and California residency and meet other license qualifications. The new law also amends FEHA to specify that discrimination on the basis of national origin includes discrimination due to possession of such a driver’s license. However, the new legislation specifies that employer actions taken to comply with requirements or prohibitions of federal immigration law do not count as a violation of the state law.

Child Performer Service Permit Additional Requirements

The new law amends California Labor Code Section 1706, which already requires talent agencies and other persons who represent or provide specified support services to child performers (such as photographers, publicists, managers, and instructors) to obtain a Child Performer Services Permit, now requires those with this Permit to display their Permit number in all advertising materials, including print and electronic media and internet advertising.

Employer Criminal Background Checks on Employees Providing Services to Minors

AB 1852 adds California Business & Professions Code Section 18950, which obligates a business that provides services to minors to provide written notice to the parent or guardian of the minors participating in the services offered by the business regarding the business’s policies relating to criminal background checks for employees who provide services to minors. Covered services to minors under this law means those businesses whose primary purpose is providing programs of instruction or extracurricular service to children, such as tutors, and who have adult employees with supervisory or disciplinary power over the child(ren). The new law also authorizes a business that provides services to minors to receive summary criminal histories from the Department of Justice and subsequent arrest notifications, and provides that the use of that information by the business would not violate specified employment laws (note that other California labor laws prohibit inquiring into or using arrests not resulting in convictions to bar employment).

Mobile Device Reimbursement

We published an alert this past summer on a California Court of Appeals decision, Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, holding that a California employer that requires an employee use his or her personal cell phone for work-related calls must reimburse a reasonable portion of the employee’s cell phone bill. While the Court did not provide guidance on how to calculate a reasonable reimbursement, it stated that specific cell phone plan details do not factor into the analysis. Specifically, an employer cannot consider whether:

  • An employee has incurred additional charges for the work use
  • The bill is paid by a third party
  • The employee changed plans to accommodate work-related cell phone usage.

On November 25, 2014, the California Supreme Court denied review and de-publication of the decision; therefore, the decision stands, and employers should examine their policies and practices regarding expense reimbursement and employee personal cell phone usage.

Expansion of Electronic Data Security Responsibilities

AB 1710 expands the scope of regulations placed on business with access to personal information about California residents. Prior to the enactment of AB 1710, only businesses that “owned or licensed” personal information about a California resident were subject to the California data security breach notification laws. Effective January 1, 2015 under amended California Code Section 1798.81.5, businesses that merely “maintain” a California resident’s personal information are required to implement reasonable security procedures and practices to protect personal information. In addition to the requirement to provide notice to affected individuals of a data security breach, California Code Section 1798.82 now requires business to offer appropriate identity theft prevention and mitigation services at no cost for not less than 12 months.

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Legal Updates: New York

Elimination of Wage Theft Prevention Act Annual Notice Requirement

The governor signed legislation on December 29, 2014 eliminating the yearly requirement on employers to distribute a written notification under New York’s Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) containing employer contact, pay rate and pay day information to current employees. Employers still need to provide the WPTA pay notice to their new hires, but are relieved from having to provide the yearly notice between January 1 and February 1 to their current/existing employees. The penalty for not providing the WTPA notice to new hires increased from $50/week to $50/day for non-compliance, capped at $5,000 instead of $2,500 per employee.

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EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts

Michael Wofford
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
mwofford@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6018

Joseph Scudiero
Sr. Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel
jscudiero@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4335

Scott Bishop
Sr. Labor Counsel
sbishop@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4336

Bob Pucher
Vice President, Labor Relations
rpucher@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6166

Edward Pak
Corporate Counsel, Technology and Privacy
epak@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4408

Molly McLucas
Corporate Counsel
mmclucas@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4340

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Labor Relations and Legal Newsletter — January 2015

2015 ushered in a number of multi-state and federal legal and labor relations developments. We have highlighted some salient changes taking effect during 2016 below. The material recapped in this newsletter is general information we are providing as a courtesy on subjects that may be of interest to you. We encourage you to consult with your legal advisors about application and handling of these law changes to your organization’s specific circumstances.

In this issue…

Labor Relations Updates

Multi-State Law Updates

Legal Updates: Federal

Legal Updates: California

Legal Updates: New York

EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts


Labor Relations Updates

Collective Bargaining Agreement Expirations

Multiple key crew-based collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) will be expiring in 2016. Please check our Paymaster Updates page for contract developments.

CBA Expiration Date
New York Theatrical Wardrobe, Local 764 Majors February 29, 2016
New York Theatrical Wardrobe, Local 764 Majors Supplemental Digital Production February 29, 2016
New York Make-Up and Hair, Local 798 Majors February 29, 2016
New York Make-Up and Hair, Local 798 Majors Supplemental Digital Production February 29, 2016
New York Script Supervisors, Local 161 Majors March 2, 2016
New York Script Supervisors, Local 161 Majors Supplemental Digital Production March 2, 2016
Teamsters, Local 817 (New York) Majors October 31, 2016
IATSE National Low Budget Theatrical December 31, 2016

Collective Bargaining Agreement Changes

Apart from the referenced CBA expirations, key CBA changes will occur in 2016 for the following groups and agreements:

  • IATSE Basic Agreement
    • 3% wage increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective July 31, 2016.

  • IATSE National Low Budget Theatrical Agreement
    • 3% wage increase effective January 1, 2016.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase for those employees under Article XXIV A.
    • $5.00 per day contribution increase for those employees under Article XXIV E and Article XXIV F.

  • IATSE Videotape Agreement
    • 3% wage increase effective October 2, 2016.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective October 2, 2016.

  • IATSE Supplemental Digital Agreement
    • 3% wage increase effective July 31, 2016 for employees employed on digital recordings to which the wage scales in the Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement and the West Coast Studio Local Agreements apply, including those wage rates set forth in subparagraph (d) of the Digital Agreement and those wage rates appended to the Digital Agreement.
    • 3% wage increase effective October 2, 2016 for employees employed on digital recordings to which the wage scales in the Producer-IATSE and MPTAAC Videotape Electronics Supplemental Basic Agreement apply.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective July 31, 2016 for employees employed on digital recordings to which the wage scales in the Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement and the West Coast Studio Local Agreements apply.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective October 2, 2016 for employees employed on digital recordings to which the wage scales in the Producer-IATSE and MPTAAC Videotape Electronics Supplemental Basic Agreement apply.

  • IATSE Area Standards Agreement
    • 3% wage increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Article 5 health contribution increase of $5.00 per day effective July 31, 2016.
    • NOTE: Except as to employees covered under the Area Standards Agreement and working in Hawaii and San Diego, CA, all such amounts shall be allocated to the IATSE National Health and Welfare Fund. For employees working under the Area Standards Agreement in Hawaii, such amounts shall be allocated to the IATSE Local 665 Health and Welfare Trust Fund. For employees working under the Area Standards Agreement in San Diego, CA, such amounts shall be allocated to the San Diego Theatrical Health and Welfare Trust Fund.

    • On covered New Media Productions budgeted at $25,000 or less per minute, the applicable Health and Welfare Plan on behalf of each employee covered under the terms of Sideletter 12 will increase to $45.00 per day effective July 31, 2016. This amount is in lieu of any amounts required under Article 5.

  • Local 399 Drivers Agreement
    • 3% wage increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Effective January 3, 2016, increase the additional amount paid to “Hyphenate” Driver/Craftspersons in the last sentence of subparagraph (b) of footnote 7 of the studio minimum wage scales from $1.00 per hour to $2.00 per hour.
    • IAP contribution [other than Occ. Code No. 3500, Transportation Coordinator; Occ. Code No. 3525, Stunt and/or Blind Driver; Occ. Code No. 3550, Ramrod; and Occ. Code No. 3571 Trainer (Domestic Livestock)] shall increase to 6.5% effective July 31, 2016.
    • IAP contribution for Transportation Coordinator (Occ. Code No. 3500), Stunt and/or Blind Driver (Occ. Code No. 3525), Ramrod (Occ. Code No. 3550) or Trainer (Domestic Livestock) (Occ. Code No. 3571) shall increase to $2.30 per hour effective July 31, 2016.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective July 31, 2016.

  • Local 399/817 Casting Directors Agreement
    • IAP percentage increase to 4.5% for Casting Directors effective October 2, 2016; Associate Casting Directors remain at 4%.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective October 2, 2016.

  • Local 399 Location Managers Agreement
    • 2.5% wage increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • IAP percentage increase to 6.5% effective July 31, 2016.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Car allowance increase to $80.00 effective July 31, 2016.

  • Local 40, 78, 724 Agreement
    • 2.5% wage increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Effective January 3, 2016, increase the additional amount paid to “Hyphenate” Driver/Electricians (Local 40), “Hyphenate” Driver/Craftspersons (Local 78), “Hyphenate” Driver/Laborers (Local 724), “Hyphenate” Driver/Plasterers (Local 755) in the last sentence of footnote 5 of the studio minimum wage scales from $1.00 per hour to $2.00 per hour.
    • IAP percentage increase to 6.5% effective July 31, 2016.
    • $0.18 per hour pension increase effective July 31, 2016.

  • SAG AFTRA Basic and TV Agreements (please refer to your Paymaster rate guide or contact your Paymaster for details on changes noted below):
    • Minimum salary rate increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Percentage rate for network prime-time rerun ceilings in Section 18(b)(1) of the 2011 SAG Television Agreement increase 2% effective July 31, 2016.

  • DGA Basic and FLTTA Agreements (please refer to your Paymaster rate guide or contact your Paymaster for details on changes noted below):
    • Wage increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Residual for reruns of dramatic programs in network prime-time, and all other residual bases increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Minimums for “High Budget” one-hour basic cable programs [Article 23-102(b)] increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Budget tiers for subscription consumer pay new media platforms with 15 million or more subscribers increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Residual payment percentage under Sideletter No. 15 re: Exhibition of Motion Pictures Transmitted via New Media of the DGA. Basic Agreement and Sideletter No. 14 re: Exhibition of Motion Pictures increase effective July 31, 2016.
    • Budget tiers re: Initial Compensation for Employees Other than Directors on Basic Cable Dramatic Programs Under the Basic Agreement and the FLTTA increase effective July 31, 2016.

  • WGA Basic Agreement (please refer to your Paymaster rate guide or contact your Paymaster for details on changes noted below):
    • Minimum rates increase effective May 2, 2016.
    • Budget tiers on high budget SVOD programs intended for initial exhibition on a subscription consumer pay new media platform with 15 million or more subscribers in the United States and Canada increase effective May 2, 2016.
    • Reuse of Traditional Programs Via New Media/AVOD – The percentage under Section 2.b.(1)(IVII)(A) of the New Media Sideletter re: Exhibition of Motion Pictures Transmitted via New Media increase effective May 2, 2016.
    • The amount referenced in Article 67.A. will increase by 5% to $210,000 with respect to any such agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2016.

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Multi-State Law Updates

Minimum Wage Increases

Federal law minimum wage remains fixed at $7.25 per hour. A number of states and localities adopted minimum wage hikes that take effect at various times in 2016. Below is a table of jurisdictions with adopted minimum wage hikes.

State Increases
State New Minimum Wage (per hour) Increase Effective Date
Alaska $9.75 January 1, 2016
Arkansas $8.00 January 1, 2016
California $10.00 January 1, 2016
Colorado $8.31 January 1, 2016
Connecticut $9.60 January 1, 2016
Hawaii $8.50 January 1, 2016
Maryland $8.75 July 1, 2016
Massachusetts $10.00 January 1, 2016
Michigan $8.50 January 1, 2016
Minnesota $9.50 (Large Employers: any enterprise with an annual gross revenue of $500,000 or more)

$7.75 (Small Employers: any enterprise with an annual gross revenue of less than $500,000)

August 1, 2016
Nebraska $9.00 January 1, 2016
New York $9.00 December 31, 2015
Rhode Island $9.60 January 1, 2016
South Dakota $8.55 January 1, 2016
Vermont $9.60 January 1, 2016
West Virginia $8.75 January 1, 2016
Local Increases
City/Locality New Minimum Wage (per hour) Increase Effective Date
Birmingham, AL $8.50 July 1, 2016
Berkeley, CA $12.53 October 1, 2016
El Cerrito, CA $11.60 July 1, 2016
Emeryville, CA $13.00 (employers with 55 or fewer employees working in the Emeryville boundaries)
$14.82 (employers with at least 56 employees working in the Emeryville boundaries)
July 1, 2016
Los Angeles, CA $10.50 (employers with at least 26 employees) July 1, 2016
Los Angeles County, CA $10.50 (employers with at least 26 employees) July 1, 2016
Mountain View, CA $11.00 January 1, 2016
Oakland, CA $12.55 January 1, 2016
Palo Alto, CA $11.00 January 1, 2016
Richmond, CA $11.52 January 1, 2016
San Francisco, CA $13.00 July 1, 2016
Santa Clara, CA $11.00 January 1, 2016
Sunnyvale, CA $11.00 July 1, 2016
Washington, D.C. $11.50 July 1, 2016
Johnson County, IA $9.15 May 1, 2016
Chicago, IL $10.50 July 1, 2016
Lexington, KY $8.20 July 1, 2016
Louisville, KY $8.25 July 1, 2016
Montgomery County, MD $10.75 (or the minimum wage pursuant to the MD wage and hour law or the FLSA, whichever is greater) July 1, 2016
Prince George’s County, MD $10.75 (or the minimum wage pursuant to the MD wage and hour law or the FLSA, whichever is greater) October 1, 2016
Portland, ME $10.10 January 1, 2016
Seattle, WA $12.50 for employers with at least 501 employees who pay toward medical benefits; $13.00 for employers with at least 501 employees who do not pay toward medical benefits; $10.50 for employers with 500 or fewer employees who pay toward medical benefits; $12.00 for employers with 500 or fewer employees who do not pay toward medical benefits) January 1, 2016
Tacoma, WA $10.35 February 1, 2016

Sick Leave Acts

See EP’s January 2015 Labor Relations and Legal Newsletter for state and local jurisdictions enacting sick leave laws prior to 2015.

Sick Time Law Jurisdictions
Jurisdiction Leave Amount
(per year)
Law Effective Date Further Information
Emeryville, CA 48-72 hours depending on employer size July 2, 2015 City of Emeryville
Bloomfield, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size July 1, 2015 Bloomfield Township
Elizabeth, NJ 24-40 hours depending on employer size March 2, 2016 Unofficial Summary
Oregon 40 hours January 1, 2016 Oregon State Legislature
Philadelphia, PA 40 hours May 13, 2015 City of Philadelphia
Pittsburgh, PA 40 hours January 11, 2016 City of Pittsburgh
Tacoma, WA 24 hours February 1, 2016 City of Tacoma

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Legal Updates: Federal

Department of Labor Intends to Consider Regulations on Employee Device Usage Outside Work Hours

The Department of Labor (DOL) has signaled its interest in developing guidelines for when employees must be paid for personal device usage for business purposes outside the workplace and normal working hours. Last August, the DOL announced it would formally seek public input on the topic, paving the way for possible new regulations in 2016. While the law requires employers to compensate employees who are eligible for overtime for use of electronic devices after hours unless the amount of work time is de minimis, “de minimis” is not defined. The DOL may issue regulations to help define this standard.

Department of Labor Intends to Increase the Minimum Salary Level for Exemption Classification

On July 6, 2015, the DOL proposed to increase the minimum salary threshold in 2016 for full-time salaried workers and highly compensated employees, using the 40th and 90th weekly earning percentiles, respectively. When the final rule is published sometime in 2016, the DOL expects the level for full-time salaried workers to be about $50,440 per year ($970 per week). The salary level for highly-compensated individuals would likely surpass $122,148 per year ($2,349 per week – the 90th percentile for 2013). As a result, all employees earning less than $50,440 per year will be entitled to overtime pay nationwide. Additionally, the DOL may begin to adjust the minimum salary thresholds annually based on either recalculation of the fixed 40th and 90th weekly earnings percentiles or inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Affordable Care Act: Stricter Employer Mandate Requirements

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement on “large” employers to offer compliant health insurance to their full-time employees becomes stricter in 2016. For 2016 and future years, the “large” employer coverage threshold lowers from 100 full-time employees or equivalents to 50. Additionally, covered large employers are under stricter compliance minimums and a narrower safe harbor starting in 2016. Specifically, employers will face a non-coverage penalty if they do not offer minimum essential health coverage to at least 95% of their full-time employees rather than 70% in 2015, and those covered employers penalized for non-coverage will only be able to exclude the first 30 rather than the first 80 full-time employees from the $166.67 monthly non-coverage penalty ($2,000 per year adjusted annually for inflation) per full-time employee in the employer’s organization. Therefore, a wider group of employers will become subject to heightened ACA requirements starting in 2016 and will need to take appropriate compliance steps to avoid penalties.

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Legal Updates: California

Expanded Equal Pay Protections

Effective January 1, 2016, SB 358 (amending California Labor Code Section 1197.5) requires employers to prove that any pay gap between workers performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions is due to factors other than gender, including skill level and seniority. The legislation expands the former standard of “equal work” to “substantially similar work.” The new law also protects workers against retaliation from sharing salary information or asking about other employees’ compensation.

Computer Professional Exemption

California Labor Code Section 515.5 provides that certain computer software employees are exempt from state overtime requirements if they meet specified criteria. The Department of Industrial Relations must adjust the pay minimums yearly in parallel with inflation to the California Consumer Price Index used for urban wage earners and clerical workers. For 2016, the new minimum hourly rate of pay exemption will increase from $41.27 to $41.85, and the minimum salary increases annually from $85,981.40 to $87,185.14, with the minimum monthly installment increasing from $7,165.12 to $7,265.45.

Labor Commissioner’s Expanded Enforcement Authority

Effective January 1, 2016, two bills expand the Labor Commissioner’s enforcement authority. First, SB 588 (adding Chapter 10 to Division 1 of Title 9 of Part 2 of the California Code of Civil Procedure and amending and adding several sections of the California Labor Code) increases the Labor Commissioner’s enforcement powers. The Labor Commissioner can file a lien on an employer’s property in California for unpaid wages and other compensation, penalties, and interest owed to an employee where there is a judgment against the employer. The law also creates individual liability for wage and hour violations for those acting on the employer’s behalf.

Additionally, SB 970 (amending California Labor Code sections 558, 1197, 1197.1, and 2802) authorizes the Labor Commissioner to investigate and enforce local overtime and minimum wage violations and issue citations and penalties to employers for such violations, so long as the local entity has not already cited the employer for the same violation. The law also enables the Labor Commissioner to issue citations and penalties to employers who violate California Labor Code Section 2802’s expense reimbursement provisions.

Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Protections

Effective January 1, 2016, AB 1509 (amending California Labor Code Sections 98.6, 2810.3, and 6310) expands whistleblower and anti-retaliation protections to prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee who is a family member of a person who has, or is perceived to have, engaged in whistleblowing or other protected activity.

E-Verify Use Limitations

AB 622 (adding California Labor Code Section 2814) prohibits employers from using the federal E-Verify system to check employment authorization status for existing employees or applicants not yet offered employment. Employers also must provide the affected offeree/new hire with any tentative non-confirmation notice(s) from issuing federal agenc(ies) when the submitted E-Verify query information mis-matches federal records. A civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation applies. The law’s intent is to penalize E-Verify subscribing-employers not E-verifying in conformity with federal E-Verify program requirements.

Wage Garnishment Reduction

SB 501 (amending and restating California Code of Civil Procedure Section 706.050) modifies the current Wage Garnishment Law, effective July 1, 2016, to prohibit an employer from withholding above the lesser of 25% of the individual’s weekly disposable earnings or 50% (instead of 100%) of the amount by which the individual’s disposable earnings of the week exceed 40 times the state minimum hourly wage in effect at the time the earnings are payable. The amendment’s intended effect is to increase the amount protected from garnishment.

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Legal Updates: New York

New York City Commuter Benefits Law

New York City’s Commuter Benefits Law (Section 20-926 et seq. of the New York City Administrative Code) takes effect on January 1, 2016 and requires employers with at least 20 full-time employees working in New York City to offer a commuter benefits program to New York City full-time employees. The law contains a six-month grace period to July 1, 2016 to afford covered employers an opportunity to comply before imposition of penalties for violations. Covered employers would need to offer New York City full-time employees the opportunity to use pre-tax paycheck earnings of up to $130/month toward purchase of qualified mass transportation benefits for their work commute, such as bus, subway, or rail passes.

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EP Labor Relations and Legal Contacts

Joseph Scudiero
Senior Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel
jscudiero@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4335

Scott Bishop
Senior Labor Counsel
sbishop@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4336

Bob Pucher
Vice President, Labor Relations
rpucher@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.6166

Molly Harbeck
Corporate Counsel
mharbeck@ep.com
Phone: 818.955.4340

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New York City Earned Sick Leave Act Takes Effect April 1, 2014

Multiple cities have enacted laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees working within city limits. New York is the largest municipality to have adopted sick leave legislation. The New York City Earned Sick Time Act (Act) becomes effective on April 1, 2014. Entertainment Partners (EP) is sharing general information about the Act in this Alert to assist clients with their obligations under the Act. We also intend to post on our website soon a set of FAQs containing examples to further explain more complicated parts of the Act.

Sample Notice of Employee Rights – New York City Earned Sick Time Act (PDF)

What Is the Act in a Nutshell?
Employers with at least 5 employees will need to provide a minimum of 5 paid sick days per calendar year to eligible employees. Employers with fewer than 5 employees will need to provide a minimum of 5 unpaid sick days per calendar year to eligible employees. The Act does not prohibit more generous sick leave programs.

Who’s Responsible Between the Client and EP?
As the employer hiring the production workers and directing and controlling their activities, the production company is the responsible employer for compliance with the Act. EP will assist in supporting your needs regarding this accrual.

Which Employees Are Eligible?
Employees employed more than 80 hours in New York City in a calendar year, whether full-time, part-time or temporary, are eligible to earn sick leave under the Act.

Are Union Production Worker Employees (PWEs) Excluded?
Potentially, yes. The Act does not apply to employees covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that expressly waives the Act and provides paid days off. Also, in the absence of waiver, for any CBAs in effect on April 1, 2014, compliance is postponed until the CBA expiration date.

Briefly, How Does the Act Work?

  • Leave Amount
    Minimum of 5 days (40 hours) per calendar year. Whether the leave is paid or unpaid depends on the employer’s size. The employer is not obligated to allow employees to use more than 40 hours of earned sick time in a calendar year.
  • Accrual Rate
    1 hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, capped at 40 hours/year unless the employer chooses to provide more than the minimum 40 hours (5 days) leave.
  • Waiting Period
    Eligible employees earning leave can’t use it until 120 days from the later of April 1, 2014 or start of employment.
  • Permitted Uses
    Leave earned under the Act can be used by the employee for (i) the employee’s own illness or injury; (ii) care of the employee’s family member (includes spouse, child, parent, domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or child/parent of the employee’s spouse/domestic partner); or (iii) public health emergency closures of the employee’s place of business or child’s school or daycare provider facility.
  • Requesting Leave
    Employees can be required to provide up to 7 days’ advance notice for foreseeable leave needs and as soon as practicable for unforeseeable leave needs.
  • Leave Validation
    Employees can be required to confirm in writing that the sick leave was used for reasons permitted under the Act, but a signed doctor’s note may only be required for absences exceeding 3 consecutive work days.
  • Carry-Over and Termination
    Employees can either be paid out or carry over up to a maximum of 5 days’ unused sick leave per year. Employers do not have to pay unused sick leave at end of employment.
  • Breaks in Service
    Employees rehired within 6 months after separation regain their unused sick leave (to the extent not paid out) at start of re-employment.

Is There a Notification That Must Be Provided to Employees?
Yes. New and current employees must be provided a notice of rights under the Act. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (NYCDCA) in charge of enforcing the Act published a model notice on March 20th for employers to use or adapt. New employees must be provided the notice at start of employment, and current employees need to be provided the notice by May 1, 2014. We tailored the model NYCDCA notice for productions to eliminate inapplicable information, such as use of domestic help, and added an employee acknowledgment to facilitate self-contained proof of receipt. A sample adapted notice is included with this alert and will be available soon on the website for client additional customization.

What Are the Penalties for Violating the Act?
Penalties vary based on nature and number of violations. Small employers (fewer than 20 employees) have a 6-month compliance safe-harbor and will not be penalized for violations occurring before October 1, 2014. Non-compliance with the written employee notice of rights provision can lead to a penalty of up to $50 per employee not given proper notice. Failure to pay sick leave where required may be penalized the greater of $250 or triple wages that should have been paid in each instance. Improper denial of sick leave carries a $500 penalty for each instance. Retaliation for assertion of Act rights or termination of employment in violation of the Act is subject to a $500 penalty (retaliation), $2,500 penalty (termination), restoration of lost wages and reinstatement. Additional civil penalties for first ($500), second ($750) and subsequent ($1,000) violations apply. An aggrieved employee has a 2-year statute of limitations to file complaints with the NYCDCA.

Where Can I Get Further Information?
The NYCDCA has a web-page dedicated to the Act and is adding content as the April 1 effective date approaches.

If you have any questions not addressed by the NYCDCA Act web page, please feel free to contact Florence Mitchell-Brown, Vice-President, Payroll Operations New York, at 646.473.9024 or fmitchell@ep.com, or Cecilia Escobar, Vice President, Payroll Operations, at 818.955.4316 or cescobar@ep.com.


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News February 2014

Entertainment Partners distributes this newsletter to provide updates on payroll issues affecting our clients in the entertainment industry.

In this Issue:

Portland, OR Sick Time Ordinance
2013 W-2 Information
EP Cares™ Health Insurance
North Carolina W-4 Guidelines


On February 10, 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS issued the final regulations implementing the employer-shared responsibilities (Employer Mandate) under the ACA. Click for details.


PayrollNews-Feb2-14-sickPortland, OR Sick Time Ordinance

Effective January 1, 2014, any employer with six or more employees (regardless of where they work) who has at least one employee working within the Portland city limits must provide sick time leave to covered employees.

The ordinance requires employers to establish and disseminate a written policy regarding sick leave. Employers must also post a poster in a conspicuous location at the work site. In addition, each qualifying employee is to receive a quarterly notice of the accrued sick time available to use.

For more information, please visit the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance website.

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PayrollNews-Feb2014 W2 form2013 W-2 Information

Please refer your employees to the various contact methods below to request copies of their W-2’s or for questions or issues.

W-2 Automated Line: 800.417.0037

Fax: 818.848.0254

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 7836
Burbank, CA 91510-7836

Email:w2group@ep.com

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EP Cares Family 200pxEP Cares™ Health Insurance

Ready to offer an Affordable Care Act compliant insurance program for your non-union production workers? We’ve got you covered!

EP Cares™ is an ACA-compliant insurance program created to meet the needs of the entertainment industry. EP has partnered with Anthem Blue Cross and Lockton Companies to provide EP Cares™, offering medical, dental, vision, and life insurance products specifically designed for the entertainment industry’s non-union workers. The medical programs are ACA-compliant and are designed to offer quality options at low cost to production workers across the country.

Production companies can subscribe now by contacting us via email at epcares@ep.com or by phone at 855.339.7350.

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PayrollNews-Feb2014 W4 formNorth Carolina W-4 Guidelines

The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted House Bill 998 which became effective January 1, 2014. Under this new law, taxpayers may no longer claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse, children, or any other qualifying dependents.

As a result of this Act, every employer must have all resident and nonresident employees provide a new Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, either Form NC-4 EZ or Form NC-4. The new form must be completed by the employee and provided to the employer so the correct amount of state income tax is withheld for any payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

If an employee fails to provide Entertainment Partners with the applicable updated form(s), EP is required to withhold North Carolina tax based on “Single” with no allowances.

Download forms:

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News January 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome to another edition of our Payroll Newsletter. Entertainment Partners distributes this newsletter to provide updates on payroll issues affecting our clients in the entertainment industry.

In this Issue:

Introducing Our EP Payroll Logo!
Payroll Training: Master Class Series – SAG-AFTRA Class Full!
Email Addresses
2014 W-2s to be Posted Online Soon!
Social Security Wage Base Increases to $118,500 in 2015
Business Standard Mileage Rate Increases to 57.5¢ in 2015
401(k) Limit Increases in 2015
2015 Minimum Wage Increases
1099 Tax Filing Assistance
Paymaster Book Update – January 2015


Introducing Our EP Payroll Logo!

To emphasize our commitment to delivering payroll to you in the simplest, smartest way possible, we have created a logo just for payroll.

You’ll start seeing this logo appear in various payroll documents soon.

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Payroll_Jan15_trainingPayroll Training: Master Class Series
SAG-AFTRA Class Full!

Part of our commitment is to offer our clients additional tools and opportunities to help make your job easier. One of these tools is a new series of classes tailor-made for the entertainment payroll professional – you!

We received an overwhelming response for our first class on SAG-AFTRA scheduled for January 22, and we’ve already reached capacity. If you’d like to be added to the wait list for the next class, please email Myah Dockery at mdockery@ep.com.

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Payroll_Jan15_email1Email Addresses

Please help us ensure that employee email addresses are included in Start Cards.

As Entertainment Partners continues to roll out electronic service solutions and support EP’s ACA-compliant health insurance – EP Cares™ – it is extremely important that Start Cards include email addresses to enable us to communicate with production worker employees.

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Payroll_Jan15_w2-20152014 W-2s to be Posted Online Soon!

Those employees that registered to receive their 2014 W-2 online by January 12 will receive an email later this month with instructions for retrieval. All emails will have the subject line, “IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT.” Employees who receive a physical W-2 through the mail can still register on the W-2 Management website for re-prints and to download into tax prep software.

To register, visit ep.com/home/support/crew-and-talent-support/.

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Payroll_Jan15_SSincreaseSocial Security Wage Base Increases to $118,500 in 2015

The 2015 social security wage base will be $118,500, an increase of $1,500 from the 2014 wage base of $117,000. As in prior years, there is no limit to the wages subject to the Medicare tax; therefore, all covered wages are still subject to the 1.45% tax. As in 2014, wages paid in excess of $200,000 in 2015 will be subject to an extra 0.9% Medicare tax that will only be withheld from employees’ wages. Employers will not pay the extra tax.

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Payroll_Jan15_mileageBusiness Standard Mileage Rate Increases to 57.5¢ in 2015

The business standard mileage rate for transportation expenses paid or incurred beginning January 1, 2015, will be 57.5 cents per mile, up 1.5 cents from the 56 cents per mile rate in effect during 2014. The mileage rate is used to compute the amount employees should be reimbursed by their employers when using their personal vehicle to travel for business purposes.

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Payroll_Jan15_401kPiggyBank401(k) Limit Increases in 2015

The 2015 limit for 401(k) is $18,000, up from $17,500 in 2014.

For the first time in years, the over-50 catch up has been increased – to $6,000 from $5,500.

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Payroll_Jan15_MinWage2015 Minimum Wage Increases

State minimum wage changes effective December 31, 2014

  • New York: $8.75

State minimum wage changes effective January 1, 2015

  • Alaska: $8.75
  • Arizona: $8.05
  • Arkansas: $7.50
  • Colorado: $8.23
  • Connecticut: $9.15
  • Florida: $8.05
  • Hawaii: $7.75
  • Maryland: $8.00
  • Massachusetts: $9.00
  • Missouri: $7.65
  • Montana: $8.05
  • Nebraska: $8.00
  • New Jersey: $8.38
  • Ohio: $8.10
  • Oregon: $9.25
  • Rhode Island: $9.00
  • South Dakota: $8.50
  • Vermont: $9.15
  • Washington: $9.47
  • West Virginia: $8.00

City minimum wage changes effective January 1, 2015

  • Albuquerque, NM: $8.75 ($7.75 if the employee’s employer provides healthcare and/or childcare benefits to the employee during any pay period and the employer pays an amount for these benefits equal to or in excess of an annualized cost of $2,500.00)
  • San Francisco, CA: $11.05
  • San Jose, CA: $10.30

Los Angeles County Fire Safety Advisors (retired) rate increase effective January 1, 2015

  • $47.75

City minimum wage changes effective March 2, 2015

  • Oakland, CA: $12.25

City minimum wage changes effective April 1, 2015

  • Seattle, WA: $11.00

City minimum wage changes effective May 1, 2015

  • San Francisco, CA: $12.25

State minimum wage changes effective June 1, 2015

  • Delaware: $8.25

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Payroll_Jan15_1099Assist1099 Tax Filing Assistance

Did you use Vista 5, Global Vista, or Classic Vista in 2014? Then take advantage of EP’s personalized 1099 tax filing assistance! Let us do the work for you:

  • EP will print and mail your production’s 1099s.
  • EP will transmit to the IRS on your production’s behalf using EP’s TCC number.
  • EP will interact between the production and the IRS to ensure completeness of filing.
  • EP will provide you with access to all 1099 data that was reported on your behalf via our VPO website.

Click here for more information!

Key Dates

  • EP 1099 Assistance Sign-up Deadline: Friday, January 16, 2015
  • Print and Mail 1099s to Vendors: February 2, 2015
  • IRS 1099 Electronic Filing Deadline: March 31, 2015

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Payroll_Jan15_PM2015Paymaster Book Update – January 2015

An update to the 2014–2015 Paymaster is now available. Updates and corrections have been made to reflect the new rates and conditions of the new SAG-AFTRA agreement, among others. Email notifications regarding updates are emailed out periodically, and will be sent to the email address provided at the time of purchase.

Need to purchase a copy of the latest Paymaster or need to update your email address on file? You can purchase the book and/or disc from our web store and update your contact information through our website.

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News July 2014

Entertainment Partners distributes this newsletter to provide updates on payroll issues affecting our clients in the entertainment industry.

In this Issue:

Affordable Care Act
California Minimum Wage Increase
DGA Contract Updates
New SmartTime Release Coming in July
EP Payroll Processing Guide
2014-2015 EP Paymaster Pre-Orders Begin July 28


Affordable Care Act

Effective January 1, 2016, employers with more than 50 full-time employees and equivalents (FTE) must offer affordable and adequate health coverage, or pay a penalty tax. For 2015 only, the FTE requirement is relaxed to 100 employees.

In order for EP to help clients track health insurance eligibility, it is necessary that Start Cards indicate the employment status: Full-Time, Part-Time, Variable, or Seasonal. Please ensure these fields are completed when submitting start paperwork to help EP provide you with accurate and complete information.

Additionally, in order to effectively track benefit eligibility, it is essential to also provide EP with a layoff/termination date on the Time Card when an employee has been laid off.

For complete details surrounding ACA compliance along with printable materials, please visit our ACA Compliance Center.

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CA Minimum Wage Increase

Effective July 1, 2014, the minimum wage in California increases to $9.00 per hour. Effective January 1, 2016, it will increase to $10.00 per hour.

New Start Cards should be submitted for employees currently employed at less than $9.00 per hour; however, EP will automatically increase rates even if a new Start Card is not submitted.

For more information, visit www.dir.ca.gov.

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DGA Contract Updates

DGA Contract ratified – effective July 1, 2014.

DGA wage rates will generally increase by 3.0%.* PH&W rates will not increase; however, 30-minute television pilots will have a PH&W cap of $170,000, and those between 31–89 minutes will cap at $225,000.

New paragraphs have been added to both the BA and FLTTA to provide a waiver of the New York City Earned Sick Time Act for all employees.

* For Directors of strip dramatic non-network and network non-primetime programs, Directors of sports programs, and Directors of news and commentary programs, the salary increase is 2.5%. Additionally, for all Directors, the rates in effect on the date of the Director’s preparation period shall be applicable for the duration of the theatrical project.

For more information, contact your EP Paymaster.

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New SmartTime Release Coming in July

Coming in July, SmartTime, our time and attendance application, will offer great new features in time for projects gearing up for fall TV production! SmartTime will now be offered as a full web application and will no longer require reliance on Citrix. Once the new version is released, you will be able to securely sign in to our website using your current login.

In addition to the design changes based on multiple interviews with payroll users, this new version will offer some great tools for completing your payroll more efficiently. SmartTime will allow for Daily Split Coding by Hour and will include Daily Split Coding by % of Hour in both our Weekly Time Card entry screens, and Daily Bulk entry view. It will also include a new Copy Time Card feature, an Employee Search, buttons to cross link from Time Card to Start Card and back, as well as a Batch Detail View, which will allow you an additional way to quickly assess which Time Cards you’ve put into a given batch.

EP will be providing training for current users every Friday at our Burbank offices, and can provide demos for those that are interested in learning more.

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EP Payroll Processing Guide

We’ve recently updated our EP Payroll Processing Guide, Production Payroll Processing with EP as a Statutory Employer (formerly “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Payroll”). This comprehensive reference guide outlines all of our products and services, provides step-by-step information on processing payroll with EP, union guidelines, tax and workers’ compensation information, and Affordable Care Act regulations. Download the Guidebook

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2014–2015 EP Paymaster Pre-Orders Begin July 28

The 2014–2015 EP Paymaster is coming soon! Pre-orders will begin July 28. Watch for an email and an announcement on our website with the pre-order form.

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News October/November 2014

October/November 2014

Entertainment Partners distributes this newsletter to provide updates on payroll issues affecting our clients in the entertainment industry.

In this Issue:

Affordable Care Act
SAG Contract Changes
New California Paid Sick Time Law
Survey: Payroll Training Classes
Our URL Is Now EP.com
Employee Ownership Month
Thanksgiving Holiday Payroll Schedule

See Payroll News – October/November 2014 ADDENDUM for additional information.

Affordable Care Act

Prepare now for 2015 to avoid penalties!

As you are likely aware, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates certain employers to collect and track workforce data, as well as offer health coverage for full-time employees, beginning January 1, 2015.

The end of the year is less than two months away.

Now is the time to assess your production workforce across your organization and develop your ACA compliance strategy. It is not too late to take action now to avoid penalties in 2015. Visit our ACA Compliance Center to obtain an overview of the mandate, access entertainment industry-specific materials, and learn about EP’s ACA Solutions, our turnkey solution to ACA compliance. We also have ACA experts available at aca@ep.com and 855.339.7350.

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SAG Contract Changes

You may have heard about new changes to the 2014 SAG-AFTRA agreement – perhaps the most significant of which essentially merges Exhibit A and The CW Supplement of the 2011 AFTRA Network Code with the 2011 SAG Television Agreement. Contributions will be remitted to either AFTRA or SAG depending on the product length and broadcast type.

For example:

1 hour network scripted series (where the pilot was produced after 10/24/2014) will have fringes remitted to SAG, whereas 1/2 hour network scripted series will remit benefits to AFTRA. For Basic Cable, 1 hour scripted series (where the pilot was produced after 10/24/2014) will have fringes remitted to AFTRA, whereas 1/2 hour scripted series on Basic Cable will have fringes remitted to SAG. NOTE: Legacy programs will continue to make contributions in the same manner as they have been doing.

The AFTRA Network Code is the exclusive agreement covering live programs (other than live network prime time dramatic programs), non-dramatic programs, and daytime serials.

Another significant change is for High Budget Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) (e.g., Netflix, Hulu) that commence principal photography on or after October 1, 2014. Rates will be the applicable rates under the Television Agreement; however, three budget tiers have been established and tiers 2 and 3 may credit 35% of applicable minimum for series or term contract performers against any other compensation due.

Finally, the schedule breaks for Television Schedules B and C have increased from $4,800 per week to $5,000 per week.

Please note that although the schedule breaks define whether or not a SAG player is a Schedule B or C player – $6,000 for theatrical and $5,000 for television – the overtime rate for Schedule C players is still based on either $5,500 (theatrical) or $4,400 (television).

For more information, visit www.sagaftra.org.

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New California Paid Sick Time Law

California has joined the movement to broaden mandatory paid sick leave for its workers. Effective July 1, 2015, an employee who works in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment is entitled to paid sick days. A non-exempt employee shall accrue not less than one hour per every 30 hours worked. Exempt employees are generally deemed to work 40 hours per workweek for the purposes of sick time accrual.

Employees are entitled to use accrued paid sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment, after which the employee may use paid sick days as they are accrued. Accrued paid sick days shall carry over to the following year of employment. However, an employer may limit an employee’s use of paid sick days to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment and may impose a cap of 48 hours on total banked sick leave.

An employer is not required to provide compensation to an employee for accrued, unused paid sick days upon termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment. However, if an employee separates from an employer and is rehired by the employer within one year from the date of separation, previously accrued and unused paid sick days shall be reinstated. The employee shall be entitled to use those previously accrued and unused paid sick days and to accrue additional paid sick days upon rehiring.

EP will be circulating an upcoming summary of the law in the near future with more information.

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Survey: Payroll Training Classes

Be on the lookout for a survey regarding payroll training classes, coming soon. EP is proud to offer payroll service and expertise that is unsurpassed in the market, and we are always eager to share our knowledge and help make your work life easier and more efficient. We have been asked to provide payroll training classes to our clients and are more than happy to heed the call! We would like your feedback to prioritize the training schedule and will be sending survey invitations in the next couple of weeks.

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Our URL is now EP.com

We are pleased to announce that we have transitioned our company URLs from entertainmentpartners.com to ep.com.

This transition should be entirely seamless on your end as all of the old URLs automatically redirect. However, you may want to reset your bookmarks from the old URL to the new, and transfer any instant messenger accounts you may use with us over to the new email addresses at ep.com.

We hope this small change will add up to some saved time throughout the course of your busy day.

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Employee Ownership Month

All of us at EP are extremely proud to be part of a 100% employee-owned company. There are approximately 10,000 Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in the U.S., covering more than 10 million employees. Among those, approximately 4,000 are 100% owned by the employees like us. Each October, ESOPs celebrate Employee Ownership Month, a tribute to the tremendous spirit of employee ownership.

We are especially proud that across the nation, companies commemorated Employee Ownership Month with a poster designed by our own employee-owner, Lauri Veverka, whose submission (pictured) was chosen from a nationwide contest. In addition, on October 9, our President and CEO Mark Goldstein delivered the keynote address to nearly 500 attendees at the annual California Western States ESOP Association conference (covering AZ, CA, CO, NV, and UT).

So remember, the next time you pick up the phone to call us, the voice on the other end will be that of a proud owner!

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Thanksgiving Holiday Payroll Schedule

Entertainment Partners will be closed Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28, in observance of Thanksgiving. Payroll will be processed on its regular schedule. However, any payroll received after 6:00 pm on Monday, November 24, will be available Monday, December 1.

To assist you in meeting this deadline, we can receive your payroll information 24 hours a day, seven days a week via email or e-fax. Please contact your Paymaster to obtain their e-fax number. Be sure to include the show name on all documents being faxed. Also, please remember to send Start Cards during the hiring week rather than waiting to include them with the first Time Cards.

We extend to you, and your entire production company, a safe holiday.

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News October/November 2014 ADDENDUM

October/November 2014 – ADDENDUM
November 11, 2014


PLEASE NOTE: The SAG schedule breaks for television outlined in our recent Payroll Newsletter do not go into effect until July 1, 2015.

For more detailed information, read SAG-AFTRA’s 2014 TV/Theatrical Contracts Referendum Booklet.

SAG Contract Changes

You may have heard about new changes to the 2014 SAG-AFTRA agreement – perhaps the most significant of which essentially merges Exhibit A and The CW Supplement of the 2011 AFTRA Network Code with the 2011 SAG Television Agreement. Contributions will be remitted to either AFTRA or SAG depending on the product length and broadcast type.

For example:

1 hour network scripted series (where the pilot was produced after 10/24/2014) will have fringes remitted to SAG, whereas 1/2 hour network scripted series will remit benefits to AFTRA. For Basic Cable, 1 hour scripted series (where the pilot was produced after 10/24/2014) will have fringes remitted to AFTRA, whereas 1/2 hour scripted series on Basic Cable will have fringes remitted to SAG. NOTE: Legacy programs will continue to make contributions in the same manner as they have been doing.

The AFTRA Network Code is the exclusive agreement covering live programs (other than live network prime time dramatic programs), non-dramatic programs, and daytime serials.

Another significant change is for High Budget Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) (e.g., Netflix, Hulu) that commence principal photography on or after October 1, 2014. Rates will be the applicable rates under the Television Agreement; however, three budget tiers have been established and tiers 2 and 3 may credit 35% of applicable minimum for series or term contract performers against any other compensation due.

Finally, effective July 1, 2015 , the schedule breaks for Television Schedules B and C have increased from $4,800 per week to $5,000 per week.

Please note that although the schedule breaks define whether or not a SAG player is a Schedule B or C player – $6,000 for theatrical and $5,000 for television – the overtime rate for Schedule C players is still based on either $5,500 (theatrical) or $4,400 (television).

For more information, visit www.sagaftra.org.


Survey: Payroll Training Classes

You may have received a survey about EP Payroll Training classes. If you are interested in providing feedback and have not yet done so, please contact Patsy Brown.


Online W-2s Coming Soon

EP will be offering online access to W-2s for the 2014 tax year. Stay tuned for more details!


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Newsletter January 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome to another edition of our Payroll Newsletter. Entertainment Partners distributes this newsletter to provide updates on payroll issues affecting our clients in the entertainment industry.

In this Issue:

Introducing Our EP Payroll Logo!
Payroll Training: Master Class Series – SAG-AFTRA Class Full!
Email Addresses
2014 W-2s to be Posted Online Soon!
Social Security Wage Base Increases to $118,500 in 2015
Business Standard Mileage Rate Increases to 57.5¢ in 2015
401(k) Limit Increases in 2015
2015 Minimum Wage Increases
1099 Tax Filing Assistance
Paymaster Book Update – January 2015


Introducing Our EP Payroll Logo!

To emphasize our commitment to delivering payroll to you in the simplest, smartest way possible, we have created a logo just for payroll.

You’ll start seeing this logo appear in various payroll documents soon.

Back to Top


Payroll_Jan15_trainingPayroll Training: Master Class Series
SAG-AFTRA Class Full!

Part of our commitment is to offer our clients additional tools and opportunities to help make your job easier. One of these tools is a new series of classes tailor-made for the entertainment payroll professional – you!

We received an overwhelming response for our first class on SAG-AFTRA scheduled for January 22, and we’ve already reached capacity. If you’d like to be added to the wait list for the next class, please email Myah Dockery at mdockery@ep.com.

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Payroll_Jan15_email1Email Addresses

Please help us ensure that employee email addresses are included in Start Cards.

As Entertainment Partners continues to roll out electronic service solutions and support EP’s ACA-compliant health insurance – EP Cares™ – it is extremely important that Start Cards include email addresses to enable us to communicate with production worker employees.

Back to Top


Payroll_Jan15_w2-20152014 W-2s to be Posted Online Soon!

Those employees that registered to receive their 2014 W-2 online by January 12 will receive an email later this month with instructions for retrieval. All emails will have the subject line, “IMPORTANT TAX DOCUMENT.” Employees who receive a physical W-2 through the mail can still register on the W-2 Management website for re-prints and to download into tax prep software.

To register, visit ep.com/home/support/crew-and-talent-support/.

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Payroll_Jan15_SSincreaseSocial Security Wage Base Increases to $118,500 in 2015

The 2015 social security wage base will be $118,500, an increase of $1,500 from the 2014 wage base of $117,000. As in prior years, there is no limit to the wages subject to the Medicare tax; therefore, all covered wages are still subject to the 1.45% tax. As in 2014, wages paid in excess of $200,000 in 2015 will be subject to an extra 0.9% Medicare tax that will only be withheld from employees’ wages. Employers will not pay the extra tax.

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Payroll_Jan15_mileageBusiness Standard Mileage Rate Increases to 57.5¢ in 2015

The business standard mileage rate for transportation expenses paid or incurred beginning January 1, 2015, will be 57.5 cents per mile, up 1.5 cents from the 56 cents per mile rate in effect during 2014. The mileage rate is used to compute the amount employees should be reimbursed by their employers when using their personal vehicle to travel for business purposes.

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Payroll_Jan15_401kPiggyBank401(k) Limit Increases in 2015

The 2015 limit for 401(k) is $18,000, up from $17,500 in 2014.

For the first time in years, the over-50 catch up has been increased – to $6,000 from $5,500.

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Payroll_Jan15_MinWage2015 Minimum Wage Increases

State minimum wage changes effective December 31, 2014

  • New York: $8.75

State minimum wage changes effective January 1, 2015

  • Alaska: $8.75
  • Arizona: $8.05
  • Arkansas: $7.50
  • Colorado: $8.23
  • Connecticut: $9.15
  • Florida: $8.05
  • Hawaii: $7.75
  • Maryland: $8.00
  • Massachusetts: $9.00
  • Missouri: $7.65
  • Montana: $8.05
  • Nebraska: $8.00
  • New Jersey: $8.38
  • Ohio: $8.10
  • Oregon: $9.25
  • Rhode Island: $9.00
  • South Dakota: $8.50
  • Vermont: $9.15
  • Washington: $9.47
  • West Virginia: $8.00

City minimum wage changes effective January 1, 2015

  • Albuquerque, NM: $8.75 ($7.75 if the employee’s employer provides healthcare and/or childcare benefits to the employee during any pay period and the employer pays an amount for these benefits equal to or in excess of an annualized cost of $2,500.00)
  • San Francisco, CA: $11.05
  • San Jose, CA: $10.30

Los Angeles County Fire Safety Advisors (retired) rate increase effective January 1, 2015

  • $47.75

City minimum wage changes effective March 2, 2015

  • Oakland, CA: $12.25

City minimum wage changes effective April 1, 2015

  • Seattle, WA: $11.00

City minimum wage changes effective May 1, 2015

  • San Francisco, CA: $12.25

State minimum wage changes effective June 1, 2015

  • Delaware: $8.25

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Payroll_Jan15_1099Assist1099 Tax Filing Assistance

Did you use Vista 5, Global Vista, or Classic Vista in 2014? Then take advantage of EP’s personalized 1099 tax filing assistance! Let us do the work for you:

  • EP will print and mail your production’s 1099s.
  • EP will transmit to the IRS on your production’s behalf using EP’s TCC number.
  • EP will interact between the production and the IRS to ensure completeness of filing.
  • EP will provide you with access to all 1099 data that was reported on your behalf via our VPO website.

Click here for more information!

Key Dates

  • EP 1099 Assistance Sign-up Deadline: Friday, January 16, 2015
  • Print and Mail 1099s to Vendors: February 2, 2015
  • IRS 1099 Electronic Filing Deadline: March 31, 2015

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Payroll_Jan15_PM2015Paymaster Book Update – January 2015

An update to the 2014–2015 Paymaster is now available. Updates and corrections have been made to reflect the new rates and conditions of the new SAG-AFTRA agreement, among others. Email notifications regarding updates are emailed out periodically, and will be sent to the email address provided at the time of purchase.

Need to purchase a copy of the latest Paymaster or need to update your email address on file? You can purchase the book and/or disc from our web store and update your contact information through our website.

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Payroll News – February 2014

Entertainment Partners distributes this newsletter to provide updates on payroll issues affecting our clients in the entertainment industry.

In this Issue:

Portland, OR Sick Time Ordinance
2013 W-2 Information
EP Cares™ Health Insurance
North Carolina W-4 Guidelines


On February 10, 2014, the U.S. Treasury Department and IRS issued the final regulations implementing the employer-shared responsibilities (Employer Mandate) under the ACA.Click for details.


PayrollNews-Feb2-14-sickPortland, OR Sick Time Ordinance

Effective January 1, 2014, any employer with six or more employees (regardless of where they work) who has at least one employee working within the Portland city limits must provide sick time leave to covered employees.

The ordinance requires employers to establish and disseminate a written policy regarding sick leave. Employers must also post a poster in a conspicuous location at the work site. In addition, each qualifying employee is to receive a quarterly notice of the accrued sick time available to use.

For more information, please visit the Portland Protected Sick Time Ordinance website.

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PayrollNews-Feb2014 W2 form2013 W-2 Information

Please refer your employees to the various contact methods below to request copies of their W-2’s or for questions or issues.

W-2 Automated Line: 800.417.0037

Fax: 818.848.0254

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 7836
Burbank, CA 91510-7836

Email:w2group@ep.com

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EP Cares Family 200pxEP Cares™ Health Insurance

Ready to offer an Affordable Care Act compliant insurance program for your non-union production workers? We’ve got you covered!

EP Cares™ is an ACA-compliant insurance program created to meet the needs of the entertainment industry. EP has partnered with Anthem Blue Cross and Lockton Companies to provide EP Cares™, offering medical, dental, vision, and life insurance products specifically designed for the entertainment industry’s non-union workers. The medical programs are ACA-compliant and are designed to offer quality options at low cost to production workers across the country.

Production companies can subscribe now by contacting us via email at epcares@ep.com or by phone at 855.339.7350.

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PayrollNews-Feb2014 W4 formNorth Carolina W-4 Guidelines

The North Carolina General Assembly recently enacted House Bill 998 which became effective January 1, 2014. Under this new law, taxpayers may no longer claim a personal exemption for themselves, their spouse, children, or any other qualifying dependents.

As a result of this Act, every employer must have all resident and nonresident employees provide a new Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, either Form NC-4 EZ or Form NC-4. The new form must be completed by the employee and provided to the employer so the correct amount of state income tax is withheld for any payment periods beginning on or after January 1, 2014.

If an employee fails to provide Entertainment Partners with the applicable updated form(s), EP is required to withhold North Carolina tax based on “Single” with no allowances.

Download forms:

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EP-Payroll-MPIP-Non-Affiliate-Producer-Opt-In-Election-Form

EP-Payroll-MPIP-Non-Affiliate-Post-Production-Supervisor-Opt-In-Election-Form

EP-Payroll-MPIP-Non-Affiliate-Accountant-Opt-Out-Form

MPIP-Home-Plan

Minor-Trust-Deduction-Guidelines-PA

Minor-Trust-Deduction-Guidelines-NC

Minor-Trust-Deduction-Guidelines-NY

Minor-Trust-Deduction-Guidelines-NM

Minor-Trust-Deduction-Guidelines-LA

EP Payroll Minor Trust Deduction Guidelines and Form California

EP Payroll How to Fill Out a SAG Voucher

EP Payroll Credit Union Deduction Authorization Form

EP Payroll Commercials and Music Video Payroll Submission Form

EP Payroll Cartage Bill for AFM Local 47

EP Payroll Box Rental Weekly Invoice

EP Payroll Box Rental Information

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-8 Videotape Continuation Sheet

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-8 Videotape

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-7 Motion Picture and TV Film Continuation Sheet

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-7 Motion Picture and TV Film

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-6 Commercial Continuation Sheet

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-6 Commercial

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-5 Demos

EP Payroll AFM Report Form B-4 Phonograph

EP Payroll AFM Low Budget Request Form Checklist

EP Payroll AFM Invoice Music Preparation

EP Payroll Sample Start Card Form

EP Payroll Tax Form Inquiries and Corrections

EP Payroll Sample Notice to Employees California Earned Sick Leave Act

EP Payroll Sample Notice to Employees New York City Earned Sick Time Act

EP Payroll Sample Loan-Out Start-Close

EP Payroll Sample Crew Time Card

EP Payroll Sample Commercial Start-Close Form

EP Payroll Sample Commercial Crew Time Card

EP Payroll SAG Claim Form

EP Payroll Processing Guide

IANBF-Away-Plan

EP Contract Service Letter