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TIPS FROM EQUITY

 

 

Suitability of employment

Your agent must establish exactly who the employer is, as this can be important when making sure you get paid. 

 Once this is established, the agent must also reach an agreement with the employer on:

  • ·         The terms of your employment regarding pay
  • ·         The location of the work
  • ·         The length of time you will be expected to work
  • ·         The start and finish date must of the work
  • ·         And if there are any risks involved. 

 

The agent must also establish if the employer has any particular requirements i.e.:

  • ·         Experience
  • ·         Training or qualifications for the work
  • ·         Whether expenses are payable
  • ·         And what the minimum rate of pay will be. 

 

In return, the agent must confirm with the employer:

  • ·         Your name
  • ·         Whether you meet the employer’s requirements
  • ·         Whether you are available to work on the dates required and at the rates proposed.

 

A key concern is the continuing ability of unscrupulous agencies to continue to charge unreasonable levels of upfront fees with no guarantee of providing work for performers.

 

 

Contracts

When you find an agent you are happy with, you will be required to sign an agreement or contract with them.  This agreement or contract outlines the basic responsibilities that you have towards your agent, and those your agent will have towards you.  The regulations outline a number of requirements on this contract and it is important to ensure that it includes these requirements before you sign.  These requirements are outlined below, along with a number of details that you ought to know, but do not necessarily need to be included in any formal agreement.

 

Key points about your contract between you and your agent! 

 

  •  Signing a contract formalises the relationship between you and your agent.  

 

1.       All agencies must operate with a contract between you and the agent.
2.       The content of most contracts is pretty standard but it is very important that you read it carefully before you sign or accept any agreements
3.       Your signature will be binding and commit you to the contents. 

 

  • Make sure that your contract stipulates that you give your agent your permission for them to find work on your behalf and that they can enter into a contract on your behalf.  
  1. Without this, your agent cannot legally secure work for you.
  2. It must also state that the terms of the agreement cannot be varied without your approval 

a.This prevents any variation in your contract that might adversely affect you.

 

  • As your agent will be acting as a handler for the money you are paid for work, your contract must also give them the authority to receive money on your behalf.  This will be used for invoices and other documents so it is important that your contract includes this provision. 

 

  • Your contract must make reference to fees to be charged for work found by your agent.  Your contract must also stipulate: 

a)            The agents’ commission rate i.e. what percentage or fixed amount; and

b)            How it will be is calculated; and

c)            What the fee relates to i.e. work found by the agent; and

d)            How it will be paid to the agent; and

e)            When you will be paid.

  

 

Getting Paid Through Your Agent

The Regulations specify that you should receive payment from your agent within ten days after the agent has received the money on your behalf.

1.       You are under no obligation to accept a period of more than ten days and you can insist that you get paid within ten days.

2.       When you sign the contract, your agent must provide you with a copy of it as well as their terms of business.

3.       The latter should take the form of a single document and include details of the type of work your agent will seek to find you and the terms of agreement between you and your agent.  

 

 

 

 Payments to agents

One element that makes entertainment agents different to employment agents relates to the charging of fees.

 Employment agents charge a fee or commission to employers advertising jobs when they are able to fill their vacancies.

 Entertainment agents, however, charge a fee or commission to the people that they find work for, and not the employer. 

They cannot charge fees to both employers and workers.

  • ·         This fee is normally an agreed percentage of the amount to be paid by you to your agent for the job the agent has negotiated on your behalf. 
  • ·         Your contract should specify how this fee is calculated and how it is to be paid. 
  • ·         Fees or commission can range from 10% to 25% of the amount you are paid for the job. 
  • ·         The regulations include certain provisions relating to this fee (see below), but they do not state what that fee should be.

 If you have any concerns about the amount being charged, particularly if you are unclear what commission is being charged, please contact Equity.

 

A)     The regulations state that an agent’s fee must only be charged as a commission from earnings. 

  1. a.       This means that an agent can only take their fee from money paid to you as a result of work they have arranged for you.
  2. b.       Earnings include any money paid for a job, including any residuals or royalties that may be received at a later date. 
  3. c.       The agent must also make it clear that they are offering their services for a fee. 

  

B)      Agents cannot charge a fee to both the performer and the employer

  1. a.       This part of the regulations is to ensure that an agent only receives one fee/commission.
  2. b.       Agents cannot request commission or any other payment for arranging a job from both you and your employer.

 

C)      The Conduct Regulations make it clear that agents are not allowed to charge you any fees except for those as a commission for work they have found you.

  1. a.        This means you should not be asked for any money from your agent before they have found you work.

 

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