An overview of the latest changes to laws as they apply to film and TV production labor as of January 2022. We cover everything from the newest production crew protections, to COVID-19 updates and local initiatives impacting your shoot. Let’s dive in.
State-by-state COVID-19 Updates for Production Employers
Nevada Paid COVID-19 Vaccination Leave for Crew Members (In Effect)
Placed in effect June 9, 2021 and applicable through December 31, 2023, private employers – including productions – in Nevada with 50+ employees are required to allow employees a total of four hours of paid leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
If a crew member is opting for a single-dose vaccine, they are entitled to only two consecutive hours of paid leave. If two doses are necessary, employees are entitled to two hours of leave per injection.
If the employer hosts a clinic on-site where crew members can receive a vaccination against COVID-19 during regular working hours, as well as employers in their first two years of operation, are exempt from these requirements.
Find additional information here.
Cook County, Illinois Passes COVID-19 Vaccination Ordinance (In Effect)
Cook County, IL, which contains Chicago and over 40% of the state’s residents, passed an ordinance requiring employers provide paid leave for employees to get vaccinated.
The ordinance covers all private companies employing one person or more, with a principal place of business or doing business in Cook County. That includes production companies.
Production employers, take note of two things about this ordinance:
- If an employer has a vaccine mandate in place, the employee is entitled to up to four hours of paid leave to get vaccinated.
- If the employer doesn’t require vaccination, employees are allowed to use any available sick time or paid time off to receive the vaccine.
The ordinance has been in place since July 1, 2021 and will remain in place until the Director of the Cook County Public Health Department releases a written repeal.
More information here.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Enacts Emergency Sick Leave Ordinance (In Effect)
Beginning in July 2021, employers with 50 or more employees in Pittsburgh, PA must provide 80 hours of paid sick leave to full time employees, only to be used for COVID-related cases.
The new law (626B) is nearly identical to the city’s first emergency paid sick leave measure (626A). More information is available here.
New York State’s HERO Act Designates COVID-19 an Airborne Infectious Disease
Governor Kathy Hochul announced COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act on September 6,2021. As a result, all productions must implement safety plans previously adhered to.
Learn more about the provisions.
Massachusetts Renews COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (Extended thru March 2022)
Massachusetts’ latest amendment concerning COVID-19 extends their previously instated emergency program to April 1, 2022 or when the emergency reimbursement fund is exhausted.
The original law established a $75 million COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Fund. The law required productions to provide 40 hours of job-protected emergency paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons. If any crew members use those hours, the fund compensates the employer for those lost hours of labor.
The new law also allows the emergency sick leave to be used for vaccination and recovery, on top of diagnosis, care and treatment of COVID-19.
More information is available here.
Production Employment Law Updates: Federal
Federal Tax Credits (For Tax Year 2021)
The IRS announced that certain employers can claim federal tax credits when employees use emergency paid leave to assist another individual with a COVID-19 vaccination or to care for someone recovering from an injury, disability, illness or condition related to the vaccine.
The credit is available to employers with fewer than 499 employees in the U.S. and certain public employers voluntarily providing paid sick leave for COVID-19 reasons.
Sick leave taken by employees between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021 qualify for the credit.
Learn more about eligibility.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination; Emergency Temporary Standard (Effective January 2022)
Starting January 2022, employers with 100 or more production crew members are required to mandate a COVID-19 vaccination policy, or require employees regularly get tested for COVID-19 and wear a face mask.
Medical and religious exemptions are available to those who qualify.
All qualified employees must get fully vaccinated or begin weekly COVID testing by January 4, 2022. A U.S. circuit court stay has been lifted as of December 17, 2021. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear legal challenges on January 7, 2022. Consult legal counsel for updates.
More information is available here.
Production Employment Law Updates: State and Local
Illinois SB 1480 Pay Data Reporting Law Gets Amended
Illinois SB 1480 was amended on June 25, 2021 by SB 1487 to clarify how employers in the state are required to comply with new equal pay provisions. There are three important parts of SB 1480 to understand:
- The “Equal Pay Registration Certificate.”
- Public-facing employee demographic data reports.
- A prohibition on the use of conviction records as the basis of employment decisions.
Get detailed information on the changes.
Louisiana Requires Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnancy (In Effect)
Act No. 393 amends the Louisiana Employment Discrimination law, enhancing its prohibition on pregnancy discrimination, requiring employers with 25 or more crew members to provide reasonable accommodation for physical limitations related to pregnancy.
More information available here.
Louisiana Passes Law on Criminal Background Checks (In Effect)
Louisiana passed Act No. 406 (HB 707), which affects businesses running background checks on applicants before offering them a job. The new rule prevents employers from requesting an arrest record or charge that didn’t result in a conviction on a background check.
Employers must now run individual assessments of an applicant’s criminal history to determine if there is an adverse relationship between job duties and past charges in order to deny someone a position. The “individualized assessment” has three important factors:
- The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct.
- The time that has elapsed since the offense, conduct, or conviction.
- The nature of the job sought.
Specific information is available here.
Washington D.C. Expands Paid Family Leave
Crew members and other staff who qualify can now take up to two weeks of paid leave for prenatal care. Qualifying reasons for this additional paid leave include:
- Routine and specialty appointments, exams, and treatments associated with a pregnancy provided by a health care provider, including prenatal check-ups and ultrasounds.
- Treatment for pregnancy complications.
- Bedrest that is required or prescribed by a health care provider.
- Prenatal physical therapy.
Employees are also now eligible for six weeks of medical leave, rather than the previous two weeks.
Get more details here.
Washington’s Long-Term-Care Program (Delayed)
A new payroll tax aimed at funding Washington’s long-term-care program, The Washington Cares Fund, was delayed on December 17, 2021.
The new tax was set to begin January 2022. The plan, which was signed into law in 2019 under the Long-Term Care Trust Act, will use a 0.58% payroll tax to provide up to a $36,500 benefit to individuals in need of home health care and services – including equipment, transportation and meal assistance.
More information available here.