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
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
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
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
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
Phone: 818.955.6018

Joseph Scudiero
Sr. Vice President and Chief Labor Counsel
Phone: 818.955.4335

Scott Bishop
Sr. Labor Counsel
Phone: 818.955.4336

Bob Pucher
Vice President, Labor Relations
Phone: 818.955.6166

Edward Pak
Corporate Counsel, Technology and Privacy
Phone: 818.955.4408

Molly McLucas
Corporate Counsel
Phone: 818.955.4340

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