Crew Members And Performers: Contractors Or Employees? at

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Old July 19th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: West Africa
Posts: 255
Crew Members And Performers: Contractors Or Employees?

According to some web articles, the basic rule that distinguishes a contractor and an employee is that you can tell a contractor what to do but not how to do it.

Considering the fact that every video or film production has a director and a producer who are artistically and logistically in control of every detail of the entire work, does it mean that actors and crew members in video production are necessarily employees?

My thinking was that when you hire a person for less than a month, the person can;t be an employee, but apparently even such a person is seen as a "casual employee" and not a contractor.

What's your take on this? Are all the people on the set employees of the producer and/or director? Because the director has ultimate control over the way the work is done on the set?

(For example, a director doesn't just tell an actress "look good"; he gets to approve the hairstyle and costume she will be wearing. The director can veto the DoP's equipment choices. And the producer can veto the director's artistic choices too.)

What's your take on this? It seems so confusing. I don't want employees!
Seun Osewa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 3,840
My take on this is irrelevant. The question is what is your GOVERNMENT TAX OFFICE's take on this?

They will have specific rules for what constitutes and employee, and what constitutes a contract-employee. This will vary from juristiction to juristiction. Your ID lists West Africa. I have no idea what the tax laws are there.

Talk to a tax accountant.
Richard Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
It all depends on the legal and tax jurisdiction you're in - the rules in West Africa may be, and probably are, wildly different from those in the USA or Canada. In the US the IRS has a whole series of guidelines to help determine who is and who isn't an employee but there's no magic employment duration that marks the transition from contractor to employee. There are some time frames that mark when an employee goes from being considered temporary or casual to being considered permanent and hours per week limits that mark the distinction between full time entitled to benefits and part-time with no entitlement. For example, you can 't have someone working as an employee 40 hours per week for a year and still deny him the same benefits other employees are entitlted to on the grounds that he is "casual part-time," at least as far as I know. The rules have changed so much in the favour of the Robber Barons and corporate greed in the last few years that who knows what the situation is this week <grin>. I was shocked to learn just a few weeks ago the FedEx drivers are not Fedex employees but rather independent contractors who must lease their own trucks and pay for gas and maintainance, buy their own uniforms, cover their own sick time, hire and pay their replacements when they go on vacation or are sick, etc, etc, etc. I think that's just outrageous and incredibly sleazy on the part of FedEx! (Sorry for the drift off-topic).
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