Tell Congress to include displaced entertainment workers in relief package
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As social distancing measures are enacted and productions are cancelled across all sectors of the entertainment industry, the COVID-19 situation has become so dire for entertainment workers that it requires decisive action from the federal government. Entertainment gig workers who expected to work for a day, week, month, or season on a production are finding themselves without planned wages and benefits.
The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) is a good start to providing relief to workers, however, the provisions on the table for emergency paid leave benefits won’t apply to displaced entertainment workers because of the requirements for days worked on a job to qualify.
The unique nature of the entertainment industry means that many of the creative professionals may not work every day, or even every month. Existing paid leave programs are by and large not applicable to this workforce. Entertainment workers depend on the income from each project they book to ensure they can support themselves and can qualify to participate in our collectively bargained health plans. Rules designed specifically for the traditional single employer relationship, or even for multi-employer work in the construction industry are likely to exclude our members, and entertainment freelancers in general.
Entertainment workers shouldn’t be collateral damage in the fight against COVID-19. We need a special Emergency Coronavirus Economic Support Benefit geared to include workers who have a bona fide, good faith offer to work that gets canceled due to the coronavirus.