Entertainers may struggle to understand the processes and legal procedures of agencies. According to the GOV.UK website, you are an entertainment agency worker if you have a contract with an agency, but you work temporarily for a hirer. You are not an entertainment agency worker if you use an agency to find permanent or fixed-term employment.
Before you are offered a job, your agency must give you information about the work they are trying to find you. They must give you:
A key information document, which is a short explanation of how you will be paid and what deductions will be applied. It must include:
- The minimum rate of pay you can can expect
- A sample payslip giving an estimate of your take-home pay after tax
- Who is paying you
- If you have any fees to pay
- If you are entitled to any benefits
And Terms of Engagement, which should include:
- Whether you are employed under a contract for services or a contract of employment
- Your notice period
- Your pay
- Your holiday entitlement
An agency cannot change your terms and conditions without telling you. If you agree to changes, you must be given a new document with the full details of the changes and the date they changed.
When your are offered a job, the agency must give you a written statement that outlines:
- Your start date
- How long the contract is likely to last
- The type of work
- About an expenses you have to pay
- The location
- Your hours
- About any health and safety risks
- About any experience, training or qualifications needed for the role
Entertainment agencies can charge you a fee for finding you work, e.g.: taking a commission from your earnings and to publish your details online or in a publication. They must tell you in writing if a fee is involved.
Entertainers’ rights if your details are being published:
Once you receive the contract, you have a 30-day ‘cooling off’ period when you:
- can cancel or withdraw from it without getting a penalty
- do not have to pay
The agency must show you what it plans to publish about you before it’s published.
You then have up to 7 days after the cooling off period to say if you do not want the information to be published. If you’re happy, you must pay after the 7 days.
You’ve paid to be promoted on a casting agency’s website. The agency shows you the photos 29 days after you signed the contract and you’re not happy with them. You have 8 days to demand a refund.
If the agency charged you but did not publish your name, you have the right to a refund for up to 60 days.
The Entertainment Sector can be a confusing area of work – especially if it is your full-time career. Knowing how to take control of your time and money while still adhering to HMRC rules can be a tedious task.