While some in the commercials industry are saying that we have rolled backed our third-party signatory (TPS) requirements, that is wrong.
To be clear, we have not moved off of the requirements that TPSs must perform to be considered a true employer. The core requirements for these entities, which the union developed in September 2019 after an investigation into several employers that were found to be in violation of their employer obligations, remain in place. We simply changed the way we articulated those requirements by focusing on what the third-party signatory must do rather than what an advertising agency involved in the production is prohibited from doing. The requirements are the same and if it proves to be the case for any given production that an advertising agency and not the third party is performing the employer functions, then the third party will have violated the terms of their signatory status by representing themselves as the signatory for that job.
These include, but are not limited to, the requirements that the TPS:
- Secure casting agents in collaboration with the client;
- Negotiate union talent contracts and hire performers;
- Have an employee on set during all shoot days with the authority to address any issues that arise;
- Ensure proper and timely payment of all session fees and residuals, and resolve any claims promptly; and
- Provide electronic documentation proving compliance within 30 days of production.
As we work to expand and maintain opportunities for our members in the commercials industry, one goal remains paramount: to protect performers and ensure compliance with the terms of our contracts. The requirements, which SAG-AFTRA will start to enforce on April 1, make certain that the companies signed to our contracts are actually performing employer functions.