Performers Collective Agreement
Update: December 2023
Live Performance Australia (LPA) supports a fair pay rise for all performers. We also recognise the difficulties faced by performers and the producers of theatre in Australia during COVID.
At that time, in 2020, more than 3 years ago, LPA approached the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) with a generous pay offer and request to commence PCA negotiations, but MEAA declined to negotiate with us.
Now in the midst of a cost of living crisis, LPA has offered another generous pay increase which MEAA has not accepted on behalf of their members
KEY FACTS ABOUT THE PCA NEGOTIATIONS
- LPA has offered a more generous pay offer than MEAA has asked for:
LPA has offered:
- a 15.6% increase over three years (4.6% already agreed, took effect on 1 January 2023)
- increase to Sunday penalty rates
- a further 5% on 1 July 2023, 3% on 1 July 2024, and 3% on 1 July 2025
Had MEAA reached an agreement (or responded to LPA in a timely manner) performers could have received a 9.6% pay increase this calendar year, in addition to increases to Sunday rates, wage increases proposed for 2024 and 2025 and other improved conditions.
- delivers a $60 per week pay increase for performers on the minimum rates of pay and in rehearsal
- is well above the 3% proposed by the MEAA (which only offers an additional $35 per week for the lowest paid performers), and
- ensures that the lowest paid performers will benefit from the increase and that pay rates are increased fairly over time
The most recent figures released by the Fair Work Commission and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations show that bargained private sector wages increased by 3.8% over the last year. LPA’s offer is two and a half times that.
- LPA and its members are listening to MEAA
In 2020, LPA approached MEAA to commence negotiations. MEAA refused to negotiate at that time even though they had not sought any pay increase for performers for 5 years.
In June 2022, 2 years after being approached by LPA, MEAA agreed to commence negotiations. LPA and MEAA have had 10 meetings since then.
After several negotiation meetings, LPA provided its full position to MEAA in May 2023, and again in early August 2023, but MEAA did not respond until 26 October 2023.
On 16 November 2023, LPA invited MEAA to set a date for the next negotiation meeting but MEAA has not replied to LPA’s invitation.
We take the health and safety of all workers very seriously. We have made a very reasonable proposal to MEAA on the number of shows per week performers are required to appear in. LPA has agreed to limit 9-show weeks to 6 per year. Currently, there are no restrictions to the number of 9 show weeks in the PCA.
We look forward to resolving the outstanding issues so that we can deliver a real and beneficial pay increase and improved working conditions to all performers covered by this agreement.
Update: November 2023
What is the Performers Collective Agreement?
The Performers Collective Agreement (PCA) is an industry framework agreement that sets out wage rates and conditions of employment for performers in the live performance industry. It is then used by different employers in their individual workplace or productions.
Typically, when a final agreement Is negotiated between Live Performance Australia (LPA), collectively representing employers, and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the agreement is implemented in each workplace or production through agreement between the individual employer and the MEAA.
How does the PCA compare to the Live Performance Award?
Where there is no PCA in place, performers and other workers are employed under the Live Performance Award 2020 (Award).
Employers can offer higher rates of pay or more generous conditions than those specified in the PCA or the Award, but they cannot provide less than the minimum conditions.
The Fair Work Commission is not permitted to approve a PCA that provides wages and conditions which are inferior to those of the Award. The PCA provides higher rates of pay and more generous leave conditions than the Award.
There have been six PCAs negotiated between LPA and the MEAA since they were introduced in 1996.
Since 1996, in recognition of the difficulty MEAA would have representing it members across multiple employers, LPA and its members bargain with MEAA, for what is now essentially the multi-enterprise co-operative workplace agreement, introduced by the Government’s recent Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act.
The current PCA was finalised in 2017. The MEAA has not approached LPA for any wage increases under the PCA since 2017. However, employers in the industry have continued to increase wages over this period. Many employers pay well in excess of PCA minimum rates.
The PCA applies to companies which vary in size from commercial theatre productions to small to medium performing arts companies.
Negotiations for a new PCA
LPA offered to commence negotiations with the MEAA for a new PCA in September 2020. The MEAA declined to commence negotiations on a new agreement at that time.
In July 2021, the MEAA stated (through social media) it was consulting members on a new PCA and released a draft log of claims which had not been discussed nor provided to LPA.
There have been ten meetings to date (November 2023) to discuss the PCA.
LPA has offered a 15.6% pay increase over three years, including a 4.6% increase which took effect from 1 January 2023.
LPA has proposed a further 5% increase from 1 July 2023, followed by an annual increase of 3% in 2024 and 2025.
LPA has also offered an increase to Sunday penalty rates.
This wage offer is for an increased PCA base rate which apply industry wide.
The MEAA is proposing a 9% pay increase, but for this to be applied on top of the ‘margins’ which are negotiated between some performers and their employers.
What are margins?
Margins are the difference between the base rate of pay specified in the PCA and that which is negotiated between an individual performer and the employer.
In effect, they are the equivalent of ‘above award’ or ‘above agreement’ payments which are made over and above the minimum rates specified in the PCA.
The difference between base rates and margins can vary from a few hundred dollars a week to several thousand dollars a week, depending on the performer’s experience and reputation and their ability to negotiate higher rates of pay (usually through their agent).
MEAA’s increase on top of margins would be in dollar amount and not as the full percentage applied to the base rate. For example: under MEAA’s offer the increase for a Grade 1 Performer on 1 July 2023 is $33.99 per week. This means that a performer earning above the base rate would receive an increase of $33.99 per week, whether their weekly rate of pay was $2,000, or $4,000 per week.
LPA does not believe the proposed increases should be applied to margins. Rather, they should apply to the base rates specified in the PCA which mean all performers would receive an equitable increase in pay rates, regardless of their individual margin.
Resources: What’s on the Table?
The following resources provide a summary of the PCA negotiations and set out LPA’s position:
Wages, Awards & Conditions
The awards that apply to the live performance industry, the exhibition industry and the cinema industry are:
- The Live Performance Award 2010
- The Amusement, Events and Recreation Award 2010
- The Broadcasting Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award 2010
- The Clerks-Private Sector Award 2010
We have developed a selection of contract templates covering full time and casual employment for performers, crew and musicians for you to use as a starting point in creating your own contracts.
We have created a range of workplace policies covering topics such as child safety, workplace bullying and annual leave.
Work Health & Safety
Under work health and safety legislation, your responsibility as an employer is to:
- maintain a safe workplace
- maintain current workers’ compensation insurance
- protect yourself and your workers from financial hardship in the event of a workplace injury
To assist you with this, our comprehensive suite of work health and safety guides for the entertainment and event industries give you an overview of the best practice and regulatory requirements.
We encourage all Members and non-members to use these guidelines to ensure a consistent approach to work health and safety in the industry.
Click below for a complete list of work health and safety resources.
As part of our commitment to promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of people working in our industry, we support a number of initiatives that promote mentally healthy workplaces, including:
Arts Centre Melbourne’s ‘Arts Wellbeing Collective’
The Arts Wellbeing Collective is a program that supports mental health for workers in the arts sector. We were a major sponsor of the pilot program. www.artswellbeingcollective.com.au/
Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment
The purpose of the Australian Alliance for Wellness in Entertainment is to develop and action a Prevention First Framework for Mental Health in the Australian Entertainment Industry. We are a committee member.
Heads Up Campaign
The Heads Up Campaign is a national awareness campaign led by Beyond Blue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance. https://www.headsup.org.au/
Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance
The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance brings together business, unions, the mental health sector and regulators to promote mentally healthy workplaces. We are a member.
Support Act’s 24/7 Wellbeing Helpline
Support Act is an Australian charity that assists artists and music workers who are facing hardship due to illness, injury or some other crisis that impacts on their ability to work in music. https://supportact.org.au/wellbeinghelpline/
Click below for more information on these initiatives.
Safe and Respectful Workplaces
All employees have the right not to be bullied, harassed, sexually harassed or discriminated against in the workplace. Workplaces should be non-threatening, respectful, safe, and free from all forms of harassment.
Our Prevention of Workplace Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Harassment and Bullying Code of Practice is mandatory for all Members.
The code is organised in two parts:
- PART A – A guide for employers, including an overview of the relevant legislative framework and obligations, as well as best practice guidance on steps you can take to effectively prevent and respond to discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.
- PART B – Templates and resources to assist you in developing new policies and procedures.
Click below for links to the Code, templates and FAQs.
Employment Fact sheets
We have created a range of workplace fact sheets covering topics such as superannuation, annual leave, public holidays, unpaid work and volunteers, redundancy and workers compensation.