Bectu Film & TV ‘need-to-know’ page

Last updated: 26 Oct 2020

Everything you need to know about returning to work in the TV, feature film, & the audiovisual sector

Bookmark this page – it will be updated regularly and it contains an overview of Bectu’s guidance on the following issues:

  • Working terms and conditions for post-COVID-19 working
  • Safe working practices
  • Logging employment practices that Bectu wishes to discourage
  • Intrusive pre-employment questionnaires
  • The post-COVID-19 employment landscape

Terms and Conditions for post COVID-19 working – Bectu recommendations

Bectu’s London Production Division (LPD) and Regional Production Division (RPD) have issued guidance to members in negotiating terms and conditions related to post-Covid19 working. This guidance can be seen here.

Safe working practices

Bectu has issued guidance on…

Bectu has issued guidance on safe working practices in…

  • Scripted Film and TV Production
  • Factual, Entertainment and Outside Broadcast Production

Members working in Factual, Entertainment and Outside Broadcast Production can have a copy of this guidance sent to employers by completing this form.

It is in the interest of employers to follow this guidance carefully, because strict adherence to these guidelines will minimise expensive disruptions, and prove useful in the event of claims of Gross Negligence, or damaging allegations about careless practices that may have resulted in infections. Bectu is urging members to contact the union with examples of employers not applying the guidance and / or having weak COVID-19 supervision.

In addition, Bectu has been consulted to some extent on guidance issued by other industry bodies including:

  • The British Film Commission (extensive consultation)
  • UK Broadcasters
  • Advertising Producers Association
  • UK Screen Alliance (for post-production, animation and VFX working)

All of these guidance documents can all be found on this page.

In addition, Bectu has produced guidance on Outside Broadcast production which can be found on this page.

This page also includes information on Bectu recommendations on terms and conditions:

  • Logging employment practices that Bectu aims to discourage
  • Details of Bectu’s guidance to workers on ‘COVID-19 specific return to work’ terms and conditions.

Logging employment practices that Bectu aims to discourage

Because of Covid19-related losses of work, freelancers have had a very difficult extended period without earnings. In some cases, employers are now adding insult to injury by imposing very one-sided contracts on freelancers who are desperate for work.

Bectu has supported the industry’s successful bid to find sustainable insurance cover – now that has been put in place, it is disappointing to see employers who are still insisting on pushing unnecessary risk down to our members.

For this reason, Bectu has produced a reporting form.

The union is asking members to let us know if employer are doing any of the following:

  • Asking workers to complete health questionaires prior to the confirmation of a job offer (such questionnaires should only be compelted once a job offer has been made and accepted.
  • Asking workers to complete intrusive health questionnaires that involve disclosing intimate personal details (pregnancy, mensuration, personal histories of STDs, etc)
  • Asking workers to agree to contractual terms that allow employers the option to
    • put workers on an unpaid hiatus in the event of a COVID-19 related disruption
    • insist on ‘exclusivity’ so that workers who are on an unpaid hiatus are not even able to accept work for other employers during that period
  • Asking workers to waive liabilities that employers would normally have, including
    • Liabilities that relate to COVID-19 related illnesses
    • Liabilities related to ‘excess’ damages of equipment or vehicles

Intrusive pre-employment questionnaires – Bectu recommendations

Bectu has produced guidance on how to deal with unnecessarily intrusive questionnaires. This guidance can be seen here.

The post-COVID-19 employment landscape

Bectu members have been surveyed to predict earnings and working practices and their views make grim reading. You can find a presentation with the statistics gathered here.

Bectu organised a seminar for members on what the employment landscape would be like in the UK film and TV sectors during the later months of 2020. This can be seen here:

Bookmark this page for an overview of Bectu’s COVID-19 return to work guidance for TV, feature film, & the audiovisual sector.