SAG-AFTRA and studios reach tentative agreement over unpaid Covid testing allowances

SAG-AFTRA has reached a tentative settlement with the studios over unpaid Covid testing allowances. The allowances in question relate to payments for Covid tests on days when performers were also paid for fittings.

In the back-to-work deal between Hollywood companies and unions, actors and background performers who traveled out of their homes to take a Covid test on a day they didn’t work for the producer are entitled to receive a test allowance if they were not otherwise paid for the day.

The back-to-work agreement provides that “an employee or potential employee, other than a background performer, who travels outside of their home to be tested on a day when they are not working for the producer will receive a stipend of $250 A background actor will receive a stipend of $100, which will only be subject to pension and health contributions if the background actor is ultimately employed by the producer after the test… However, no stipend is only due if the employee is otherwise paid for the day.”

The dispute arose because “several production companies” reportedly failed to pay performers and background actors a Covid testing stipend on test days when they are also paid for a wardrobe adjustment. SAG-AFTRA then filed claims and requests for arbitration against the companies. These claims represent SAG-AFTRA’s challenge to the studios’ position that if an artist received an adjustment fee on a particular day, the studio does not also have to pay the Covid testing allowances for that same day.

As part of the interim settlement, studios have now agreed to pay these stipends in full for verified claims, but performers will have to submit claims for instances where they did not receive their stipends, including artists who had previously submitted grievances separately to the union. The deadline for these submissions is April 14 and any claims made after this deadline will not be paid.

“On Friday, SAG-AFTRA sent its performers a letter regarding a potential settlement with a number of producers for Covid testing on edit day claims,” ​​the union said in a statement to Deadline. “The letter outlined eligibility and action required to receive payment. As noted in the letter, the deadline for performers to take action is April 14. SAG-AFTRA has no further comment for the moment.


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