Equal pay rights, financial advice and support

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Money

Money is a key issue and we know that women members face pay discrimination when contracted for work. The resources on this page will help you understand your rights as a worker and a woman in the industry and how to find support.

Pay issue? Contact Equity

Call us on 020 7379 6000 to discuss any concerns you have about pay. Or you can find details for the Equity official covering your sector on our contact us page

If financial problems are affecting your mental health, as an Equity member you can access free counselling

Accessible word version coming soon.

Agreements and contracts

Equity agreements set the terms of your work and underpin all contracts. If you have questions about a contract or agreement, don’t hesitate to contact us.

You have access to all the agreements and rates information Equity has negotiated.

Non-Equity Contracts

You may not always be working on an Equity contract, but you can always contact Equity for advice. If you are considering or currently working on a non-Equity agreement, take a look at our checklist of things to look for.

Designing Your Own Contract (for variety, one-off shows, etc)

Equity has created a guide to writing your own contracts for work. While this is more common in the variety sector and for one-off gigs, having a contract signed by yourself and your engager helps make sure your working conditions are outlined, and your rights are protected.

Equal pay

Women workers, whether employees or self-employed, have the right to equal pay for equal work. The rights to equal pay are established in the Equality Act 2010. The act defines equal work as paid activity that can be deemed like work, work rated as equivalent and work of equal value. Contact Equity on 020 7379 6000 if you are not receiving equal pay.

For further background information of what is meant by equal work visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

There is a long-standing concern about the problem of unequal pay faced by women. In 2020, the 50-year anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, The Equality Trust created a report into unlawful pay discrimination.

Holiday pay 

You are almost always entitled to holiday pay. Read more about your rights in our Equity holiday pay guide

Check if you’re entitled to holiday pay on the Citizens Advice website.

Insurance

As a member of Equity, you have access to a comprehensive package of insurance cover. 
Take a look at Equity insurance benefits

Your Public Liability Insurance Certificate

Your Equity membership gives you Public Liability Insurance Cover.
Download your certificate

Late Pay 

You should be paid within 30 days. Your agent has to pay you within 10 days of receiving funds. If you have not been paid on time for work, contact us on 020 7379 6000. 

Low Pay/No Pay

Equity places a priority on the rights of members to be fully paid for work. Use these resources to help make sure you're paid fairly: 

Useful agreements

Sometimes members working on short and student films have felt that producers were not sufficiently aware of issues such as national minimum wage legislation, risk assessments and dignity at work protocols. We've put together the following guides and agreements to address these issues: 

Member benefits and discounts

As an Equity member, you can access services for free including insurance, counselling and legal support as well as discounts to help with your work such as voice coaching.

Find out more about member benefits
Find out more about member discounts

Pensions

Equity Pension Scheme

When you sign up to the Equity Pension Scheme, your employer on certain Equity contracts will also contribute to your pension. The scheme is available to all members and is free to join.
Find out more and join the pension scheme

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI)

Women Against State Pension Inequality fights for women born in the 1950s who are affected by the changes to the State Pension Age.
Find out more about WASPI

Royalties and distributions

Equity Distribution Services (EDS) make sure that you receive royalties and other secondary payments if you're engaged on Equity contracts arising from the terms of the unions collective agreements.

Find information on royalties and distributions

Self-employment

Your rights

There are three kinds of employment status - employee, worker and self-employed. At work employees have greater legal rights. Those classed as workers and the self-employed have rights too and it's important to be aware of these:

Further guidance

If you have questions about your rights, and concerns about whether these have been breached, call 020 7379 6000 or contact your sector Official.

Tax and welfare

As a freelancer you may be entitled to tax and welfare benefits.
Read Equity’s guidance and access our Tax and Welfare Service

If you have a question, contact the Equity Tax and Welfare Helpline on 020 7670 0223. You can also email helpline@equity.org.uk.

VAT

If you are a sole trader with high turnover, or decide to set up a limited company, you may need to register for VAT as part of your company operations.
Visit gov.uk to find out more about VAT

Financial support

Access to Work

The Access to Work (AtW) scheme is a government funded employment support scheme that provides grants to people who have a physical or mental health condition and require practical support in order to work.

Actors Benevolent Fund

The Actors Benevolent Fund offers financial support to members in need.

Actors Children's Trust

Charity for those in the industry with children.

Arts Council Funding

Grants for organisations, artists, events, and initiatives through Arts Council England.

Caring and childcare benefits

You may be entitled to financial support if you have a child or care for an adult. Find out which benefits and tax credits you could be entitled to on our caring and childcare benefits page.

Equity Benevolent Fund

Get help paying Equity subscriptions.

Equity Bursary Scheme for Young Members

Two annual awards of £500 for students and young members. Students are proposed by their tutors.

Equity Charitable Trust

A charity offering support to those in financial crisis.

Government Business Support Resources

Your business can get advice and financial help from government-backed schemes.

Theatrical charities

List of theatrical charities.

Further resources 

ArtsMinds

Mental health resources for money issues.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Free advice and support on issues such as housing, benefits, money, debt, law and courts, immigration and work

Equal Pay Today

Equal pay campaign and research

FEU

Federation of Entertainment Unionsresources on business and finance. 

Pay on Time

A resource of information to support businesses getting paid on time.

Self-employment

Government guidelines on self-employment and sole trading.

WASPI

Women Against State Pension Inequality fights for women born in the 1950s who are affected by the changes to the State Pension Age.

Women's Equality on Equal Pay

Information on equal pay and opportunity.

Equity Guides and Documents

The documents below outline the campaigns and resources created by Equity to help members with money issues.