Author Topic: tracking time on an hourly contract  (Read 3602 times)

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loebtmc

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tracking time on an hourly contract
« on: Aug 31, 2006, 12:35 am »
Need to check w y'all to make sure I am not hallucinating.....

Had a long discussion tonite w a rep this evening about using the 6-hr option and how to track it in an hourly wage base situation. My understanding is that we track the actual hours worked - if we opt for a 6-hr day, we get paid for 6 hrs (plus the minimal extra time SM's are entitled to have) -

but he was saying the producer would be paying a 6 hr day at full day rate - since the shorter day break the producer gets just means an hour less work (since the other hour would be lunch) -

I know it means less money on an already small contract, but am I totally confused?

thank you for weighing in


MatthewShiner

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #1 on: Sep 01, 2006, 12:22 am »
I am unaware of the specifics of the hourly contract.

But on the LORT Contract they have those ever confusing words "Each six-hour rehearsal block used shall count as eight purposes of calculating the hours rehearsed in a work week."  So, this may be the root of this.  I remember trying to explain this to a director . . . and have him just get more and more worked up.



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loebtmc

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #2 on: Sep 01, 2006, 02:25 am »
This is a HAT contract - and I will look up the latest language (since I know much of it has been updated since my rule book was printed) but still, hmmm - kinda weird, eh?

Anyone?

hbelden

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #3 on: Sep 01, 2006, 02:03 pm »
loebtmc, I'm confused.  The HAT contract has weekly minimums - how are you getting paid hourly?
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loebtmc

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #4 on: Sep 02, 2006, 02:47 am »
This is a HAT contract referencing level-freakin-A - it's an experiment, a per-performance with a health allotment at a low pay scale so the producer is encouraged to use a contract, give the actor health weeks, and pay a minimal salary -

and I get to be the test guinea-pig


hbelden

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #5 on: Sep 03, 2006, 12:58 pm »
I can see why things like this come up.  What a frankenstein situation.  I'm no AEA rep, but here's how I see the situation...

The purpose of the six-hour day is to allow a trade-off - actors work six hours straight (kind of a marathon) instead of the normal maximum five for the benefit of shortening the workday.  It's always seemed to me to be a quality-of-life issue, and the work time was the only thing open to negotiation.  If contract money was part of the trade-off, I for one might not want to vote to allow it.  So I side with your rep in this case.

If an actor is called for the whole six hours I would say that was an entire rehearsal day and they were entitled to a full day's pay (i.e., seven hours).  That would follow the spirit of the contract, in my view.  If they were called for five hours or less, I'd think that would be a situation where actual hours could be paid for that day.

(The HAT contract doesn't have the LORT language about one of the breaks in the six-hour-day being twenty minutes long.  Do you find you're giving one?)

In my personal opinion, hourly pay in a non-overtime situation sucks for us.  What if you're playing a butler and are only called for one hour a day for the whole week - How is four hours' pay okay for that actor?  And then wouldn't the producer make you, the stage manager, feel guilty if you used a staggered call but the director took twice as long on the first scene as she thought and the actors for the second scene were sitting around doing nothing?
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loebtmc

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #6 on: Sep 04, 2006, 12:08 pm »
I actually like the 6-hr option when possible because it means I get to get on with my life and all the things I need to do - and days thick with choreography and/or music work better because the actors' brains can only assimilate so much at one time

but I had always put in for 6 hours when we worked 6, and used 8 when we worked 7/8.

(and most of the smaller contracts require tracking rehearsal hours by the SM so I am used to that)

it's just - well, weird that we have 36 actor hours to use (so nice and neat, six 6-hr days) but I am supposed to tell the company manager to pay those 6 hrs as 7? that's where I don't understand.....esp as we are doing this whole thing AS an hourly wage -

(and yeah, hourly wage sucks but hey, someone's gotta test this new thing)


hbelden

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #7 on: Sep 05, 2006, 11:29 am »
it's just - well, weird that we have 36 actor hours to use (so nice and neat, six 6-hr days) but I am supposed to tell the company manager to pay those 6 hrs as 7?

wow.  You're right, it is weird.  With weekly pay, on the usual HAT contract, you get paid x amount and you're limited to working 42 hours in that week without overtime.  That's six 7-out-of-8-1/2-hour days (6 x 7 = 42). If you decide to replace any of those days with a straight-six, it doesn't matter, everyone still gets paid the same.  The LORT contract is 45 hours of rehearsal, which is six 7-1/2-out-of-9-hour days (6 x 7.5 = 45) - same situation.  A 36 hour workweek seems to imply six 6-hour days (6 x 6 = 36). 

BUT, as I think about this more:

If you were to have six straight-six rehearsals, and each one is charged as 7 hours of rehearsal, that means that you're getting paid for a workweek of 42 hours, not 36.  No producer who wanted a 36-hour week would agree to that, right?

What's the breakdown if you don't have the straight-six rehearsal option -  if you use 7-out-of-8-1/2 rehearsals?  Tues 6-11; Wed 6-11; Thu 6-11; Fri 2:30-11; Sat 2:30-11; Sun 2:30-11; that schedule adds up to 36 hours of rehearsal.  If you shorten two of the rehearsals, you can add a fourth 7-out-of-8-1/2 = Tu & Wed 7-11; Thu/Fri/Sat/Sun 2:30-11; but you can't get a fifth full day unless you rehearse only one hour on the sixth.  The workweek hour limitation prevents you from having the same schedule every day.

So with a 36-hour workweek, using all the hours, you have a maximum of four full days of rehearsal during the week.  Since a straight-six "shall replace a typical" 7-out-of-8-1/2 day, I read that as saying you have a maximum of four days you can use the straight-six option, and the other two days are four-hour rehearsal blocks.  And if I'm right about this, I would feel totally comfortable recording 7 hours' work on the 6-hour days - but only for actors who were there the whole day. 

Do you have any contact with the negotiating team?  What were the negotiators intending when agreeing to a 36-hour workweek? 
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MatthewShiner

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Re: tracking time on an hourly contract
« Reply #8 on: Sep 05, 2006, 02:34 pm »
In the LORT Contract, the Straight Six counts as 8 hours when you figure out the work week hours (Each six-hour rehearsal block used shall count as eight purposes of calculating the hours rehearsed in a work week - 50.2.B.ii.)

(which is why there is a separate rule if you do a week of straight sixes, since it would take you over the total work week hours - but it is allowed, with additional outside rehearsal hours)

I think, as stage managers, we often look at the straight six and see it as a most wonderful thing in that it tightens up our day to 6 hours total, as opposed to ten hours, an eight with a 2 hour break.  But, there a lot of pluses from the producer side as well.  Some of them may not always apply, but some I have thought about . . .

1) Reduces the hours a rehearsal room needs to be rented.
2) Reduces the salary of non-union staff members (PA's for example)
3) It allows an actor to put in a full day of rehearsal in a short time, possibly allowing them to do a show at night on another contract (Or, in my case . . . I do a very sneaky three rule combine effort . . . I take an actor who is rehearsing one show during the day, and performing another show at night . . . .add that to uping the rehearsal block to 5.5 hours since we elect NOT to rehearse on a two show day . . . combing that with a straight six, with the "20 minute break at the end of the call . . . I can get 5.5 hours of uninterrupted rehearsal.)
4) For those theatres that have to transport actors during the meal break, they just saved on those costs.
5) As far as a director is concerned, sometimes then block without the meal break is more desirable.  How many times have we noticed that after a meal break, rehearsal just goes down the tubes?
6) Sometimes when you have an artistic director directing, they are only available six hours a day, so it’s nice to get in, get the show rehearsed and get out.

I am sure there are plenty of reasons from the producers’ side why they would want the straight six.

But all of this REALLY only makes sense when it’s all free time anyway – when everyone is on a weekly schedule, we are just using the hours we have already bought on the weekly salary.

In the case of hourly, it does seem fair that Equity says if you are doing a straight six, which is a little harder on the cast, then there should be some extra compensation for that.  If the producer does not like the result, they can just stipulate that there will be no straight six rehearsals – end of story. 

So, I agree with the rep, as confusing as it is, a straight six should be billed as a full day, since, at least in the LORT contract, Equity has set a precedent of 6=a full day.
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

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