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Fringe employers must pay actors

21 June 2013

An Employment Tribunal has ruled that when a producer on the fringe is acting as an employer on a production which is not a “collaborative artistic piece of work” then actors and others are “workers” as defined by the law and entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

Gavin McAlinden of Charm Offensive Ltd mounted a production of David Edgar’s Pentecost which he described as a “profit share”, but the Tribunal judge ruled that there was an employment contract between Mr McAlinden and the actors and that the production was not a “collaborative artistic piece of work”.  Five members, who were all given legal support by Equity, were judged by the Tribunal to be workers and entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

Equity has welcomed the judgement and made it clear that genuinely collaborative fringe productions with properly constituted partnership deeds have nothing to fear from this judgment, but bogus profit shares are at risk of challenge.

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