Getting Paid On Time
The Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) requires timely payment. When payment is late, it is a violation of the MBA and should be reported to the Guild for enforcement. If all MBA-covered writers reported their late payment issues, not only could the Guild seek payment with interest on behalf of the individual writers, the aggregate information of these complaints can be used to identify a pattern of practice among employers that repeatedly pay their writers late. This information can prove invaluable to Guild staff for enforcement as well at the bargaining table when negotiating our next contract.
How to Help Prevent Late Pay
If you are an agent:
The WGAE and its franchised agents are working together to address the chronic problem of late payment. The joint project will focus on delivery of literary material by screenwriters. With agents providing the Guild with timely information regarding when their clients deliver literary material for features, the Guild can more systematically track script deliveries and payments in the ongoing effort to ensure writers are paid on time. Full and consistent participation by WGAE franchised agents is essential to the project’s success.
Contact us to let us know the date your client delivered their theatrical treatment, screenplay, rewrite or polish. Include the following information:
- Your name & contact information
- Writer’s full name
SIGNATORY COMPANY information:
If you are a writer:
The Guild is here to be a resource for writers to ensure all producers follow the rules and industry practices that are clearly defined in the MBA.
To ensure timely payment, you are responsible for the following:
- Start writing only after being officially “commenced” by the person identified in your contract with the authority to do so
- Deliver your material on time to the individual named in your contract (This person may be different from the person who has authority to commence your writing)
- Send an invoice for payment
- Notify the Guild if you haven’t been paid within seven days after proper delivery
Information and Suggestions:
- Keep good records
- Take notes during meetings or phone calls with the Company, especially when discussing commencement dates and/or deadlines
- Save all relevant emails with the Company
- Ask specific questions about commencement and delivery dates and the Company representative to whom delivery of your literary material is to be made
- Request confirmation in email when:
— You are commenced
— When you deliver materials
- Start writing only after being officially “commenced” by the person identified in your contract or deal memo with the authority to do so
- Provide a copy of your contract to the Guild
- Payment is late after 7 calendar days. Contact the Guild if you have not received payment within that timeframe.
Contacting the Guild
If a Company does not make timely payments, the Guild will represent you in not only receiving these payments, but receiving late penalties as well. If you have a late penalty claim or inquiry, please contact WGAE Business Agent, Geoff Betts, at 212-767-7852 by email. Remember to collect the following information beforehand:
- The Company’s name and contact information
- A description of the type of literary work you completed (e.g., story, treatment, rewrite, polish, half-hour network primetime story & teleplay, etc.)
- A description of when and to whom you delivered your literary material and any other pertinent information (e.g., Have you received any money? If so, how much and when? Was the deal reduced to writing? If so, does the Guild have a copy?)
The MBA requires timely payment. When payment is late, it is a violation of the MBA and should be reported to the Guild for enforcement.