Ever gone through the nightmare of paying for “waiting time penalties” just days after shooting with a model? It’s a common problem particularly for photographers in California. This is because of a loophole in the Labor Law for Print Productions, which indicates that talents can file claims for the penalties mentioned if they aren’t paid their wages upon wrap. So this can be a big problem for producers, photographers, and agencies who may not be able to make payments upon wrap due to unforeseen circumstances, or even things out of their control or ability. This is what photo shoot production specialist The Producer and California-based casting agency Prime Casting are trying to address by calling for changes in the law in question.
In their call for support on The Producer website, the two agencies explained that this loophole in the Labor Law for Print Productions can pile up the penalty to total day wage per day, up to 30 days of non-payment beginning from the date of the shoot’s completion. In comparison, the Motion Picture Industry productions are exempted, so they can pay talents at the next regular payday. This, the agencies noted, allow for ample time to process the talent wage through payroll and avoid the penalties.
California-licensed attorney Douglas Clifford explains this predicament further in an aptly titled Pixelz blog post, How a One-Day Photoshoot Can Turn Into $100k+ Penalties: Models, California Law, and “Late” Payments.
So, Prime Casting reached out to state politicians and appealed for a review of the said law. In response to this, California Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg and his office came up with legislation that will provide the same protection awarded to the Motion Picture Industry. The two agencies also called for their community to send in their “Letters of Support” to stress the urgent need for votes in favor of this action.
The legislature is set to discuss the matter at hand this week. If this successful, this provision could save photographers and their agencies the costly inconvenience and business losses that come with hefty penalties. For now, we wait for updates.