Advisory to SAG Members RE: Force Majeure for Television Series Regulars

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Advisory to SAG Members RE: Force Majeure for Television Series Regulars

Emergency Suspension or Termination
Television Series Contracts

The following contract rules apply to performers under series contracts (series regulars) during a strike:

HOLD

  • The Producer may continue to pay the performer their full salary. This will keep the performer on hold during any suspension and all terms of their personal service agreement will remain in full force and effect.

SUSPENSION

  • The Producer may suspend the performer’s services for a period of time not to exceed 5 weeks by paying the performer half of their salary. At the end of the five week period, the employer must either resume payment of full salary to the performer, or terminate the performer’s employment contract.
  • At the end of the fifth week of such suspension, the performer may terminate their employment contract.
  • However, after the performer’s notice of termination, if the Producer begins and continues to pay the performer their full salary, the Producer will continue to hold the performer and the performer’s series contract will remain in full force and effect.

TERMINATION

  • Notwithstanding the above, the Producer may terminate the performer at any time after the strike begins, whether or not the Producer initiates a suspension.
  • Upon such termination, the Producer is not obligated to pay the performer any additional compensation.
  • Upon termination by the Producer or performer, the performer is free to accept other work.

RECALL AFTER TERMINATION

  • The Producer may recall the series performer in the event of resumption of production at any time and under the same terms as in the performer’s series contract. In other words, if the performer is not otherwise employed, he/she is obligated to return to work upon the Producer’s recall.
  • If the performer is otherwise employed at the time of the recall, he/she is obligated to cooperate to the fullest extent in trying to make their services available to the Producer.
  • However, the Producer must recall the series performer if production is resumed. With extremely rare exceptions, the Producer cannot use a force majeure event to refuse to recall a performer after the resumption of production.

WRITTEN NOTICE

  • The Producer must clearly inform the performer of any notice of suspension or termination, either verbally or in writing.
  • If the performer terminates their employment, they also must give notice to the Producer, and the Guild advises that they do so in writing.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL POINTS

  • Other than as specifically set forth above, at no time does the Producer have the right to reduce the terms of the performer’s series contract as a result of a force majeure event, even if their personal services agreement provides for such changes. For example, the Producer may not reduce the number of guaranteed episodes upon recall of the performer.
  • Any payments to the performer during the suspension or hold (1/2 or full salary) may not be credited against compensation paid to the performer for services after the recall.
  • Option periods and deadlines in a series contract may not be extended or changed by the Producer as a result of a force majeure. Producer must honor option deadlines during a strike.
  • These rules for series performers are applicable to all performers contracted under all Schedules, including Schedule F series performers.
  • Screen Actors Guild has not granted any waivers of the foregoing rules.
  • Note: The rules relating to force majeure are not necessarily the same for theatrical motion pictures or for performers on television series other than series regulars.

Should you have any further questions, please call:
Deborah Berg, Director of Television Contracts at 323-549-6833
or Elizabeth Moseley, Director of Theatrical Contracts at 323-549-6821.

FORCE MAJEURE

Emergency Suspension or Termination
Television Series Contracts

FURTHER STATEMENT REGARDING ATTEMPTED USE OF “HIATUS” FOR PERFORMERS ON SERIES CONTRACTS

It has come to the attention of Screen Actors Guild that some producers may be asserting that a suspension of production of a television series at this time will be considered a hiatus and that the force majeure provisions of the SAG Television Agreement will be inapplicable.

The SAG Television Agreement spells out the rights and obligations of performers and producers in the event that a suspension of a production is the result of a strike. Therefore, if a suspension of a production is the result of a strike, it will not alter the rights or obligations of either producers or performers by labeling a suspension of a television series as a hiatus.

In the absence of extraordinary factual circumstances, any series production that is suspended at this time will require compliance with the force majeure provisions of the SAG Television Agreement.

If you have any further questions regarding this statement, please contact Deborah Berg, Director of Television Contracts, at 323-549-6833.