Irish Equity Remembrance Page

Irish Equity are creating a remembrance page to remember and celebrate the lives of deceased members of our profession. We are looking for your help with this. If you have any information which you think might be useful, please email us at irishequity2020@gmail.com

Budget 2021 and the Arts

See relevant information here:

Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP)
The new weekly payment structure is as below:

  • for individuals who earn €400 and over- the rate of payment is €350
  • for individuals who earn between €300 and €399.99 per week – the rate of payment is €300 
  • for individuals who earn between €200 and €299.99 per week – the rate of payment is €250 
  • for individuals who earn less than €200 per week – the rate of payment is €203 
    More information on the PUP can be found here.
    Christmas Bonus
    A Christmas Bonus of 100% will be paid in early December 2020 to people getting a long-term social welfare payment (minimum payment €20).
    The bonus will also be paid to people getting PUP and jobseeker’s payments for at least 4 months.

Update to Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS)
Changes to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme were announced last night. The new weekly payment structure is below. 

  • for individuals earning between 0 and €151- no subsidy €0
  • for individuals earning >€151 < €203 – the rate of payment is €203
  • for individuals earning >€203 < €300 – the rate of payment is €250
  • for individuals earning >€300 < €400 – the rate of payment €300
  • for individuals earning >€400< €1,462- the rate of payment is €350
    We are awaiting Revenue’s update publication on the scheme, pending that more detail can be found here.
     
    Debt warehousing for self-assessed taxpayers
    The tax debt warehousing scheme will be extended to taxpayers who self-assess for income tax that are adversely impacted by Covid-19. Impacted taxpayers who cannot pay their 2019 balance and preliminary tax for 2020 can defer payment for 12 months. If income for 2021 is also at least 25% lower than income for 2019, the balance of 2020 balance and 2021 Preliminary Tax can also be warehoused. Debts that are warehoused are subject to 0% interest for 12 months. After this 12-month period, a reduced interest rate of 3% per annum will apply and no surcharge will apply. More information can be found here https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/ebrief/2020/no-1902020.aspx
    https://www.revenue.ie/en/tax-professionals/ebrief/2020/no-1902020.aspx
     
    Income Tax
    There are no changes to the standard or higher rate income tax bands.
    The Earned Income Tax Credit for the self-employed will increase from €1,500 to €1,650. This increase will also be applied for the 2020 tax year.
    The Dependent Relative Tax Credit will increase from €70 to €245.
     
    Universal Social Charge (USC)
    The ceiling of the 2% band will increase from €20,484 to €20,687, so that the salary of a full-time worker on the minimum wage will remain outside the higher rates of USC.
    The weekly income threshold for the higher rate of employer’s PRSI will increase from €394 to €398 to ensure that there is no incentive to reduce the working hours for a full-time employee on the increased minimum wage.
    Medical card holders will continue to pay a reduced rate of USC until the end of December 2021.
     
    Payments to families
    The weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €36 to €38 for children under 12 years of age. It will increase by €5 from €40 to €45 for children aged 12 years and over (from January 2021).
  • The One-Parent Family Payment earnings threshold of €425 will be removed (from April 2021).
  • Working Family Payment income thresholds will increase by €10 per week for families with up to 3 children (from January 2021).
  • Parent’s Benefit will be extended by 3 weeks from 2 weeks to 5 weeks for parents of children born or adopted from November 2019. The period it can be taken will be extended up to your child’s second birthday or within 2 years following adoption (from April 2021).
  • The Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant will increase by €2,000 from €6,000 to €8,000 (from January 2021).
  • Disability and illness payments
    The number of waiting days for Illness Benefit will be reduced from 6 days to 3 days on new claims (from the end of February 2021).
    The earnings disregard for Disability Allowance will increase by €20 per week from €120 to €140 per week (from June 2021).
    A grant of up to €500 to buy hearing aids and up to €100 towards repairs will be provided under the Treatment Benefit Scheme without requiring a matching payment by the claimant (from April 2021).
     
    State pension age
    The qualifying age for a State pension will continue to be 66. Legislation will be introduced later in 2020 to reverse the increase in pension age to 67 currently included in social welfare legislation.

    Fuel Allowance
    The Fuel Allowance will increase by €3.50 per week from €24.50 to €28 (from January 2021).

    Living Alone Increase
    The Living Alone Increase will increase by €5 per week from €14 to €19 (from January 2021).
     
    Increase for living on a specified island

    The Increase for living on a specified island will increase by €7.30 from €12.70 to €20 per week (from January 2021).
     
    Carers
    The Carer’s Support Grant will increase by €150 from €1,700 to €1,850 per year (from June 2021)
     
    COVID-19 Business supports

    The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will continue until 31 March 2021. Supports under a similar scheme are likely to continue from 1 April 2021. The Government has applied to the EU SURE fund (the European Instrument for Temporary Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks) for additional funding. This fund is part of the European response to help protect jobs and workers affected by COVID-19.
     
    Any employer who received excess amounts of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme must refund the overpayment to Revenue. An employer may be unable to repay the overpayment immediately, due to the impact of Covid-19 on their business, and the existing tax debt warehousing scheme will be expanded to include these repayments.
     
    The Covid Enterprise Support Grant payments have been extended until 31 March 2021. The grant is worth up to €1,000 and is aimed at sole traders who got the Government’s Restart Grant Plus.
    The waiving of commercial rates due to local authorities has been extended until the end of 2020 to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.
     
    Other COVID-19 supports include:
  • €39 million in continued access to low cost loans for business
  • €30 million for applied research in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry
  • €10 million to help businesses move online with the Online Retail Scheme
     
    COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS)

    A new COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) has been set up, aimed at businesses impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
    Qualifying businesses can apply to Revenue for a cash payment. The maximum weekly payment will be €5,000. The scheme is aimed at those in the accommodation, food and arts, recreation and entertainment sectors. If the Government decides to move to a higher level of restrictions then other sectors may qualify.
    The scheme will run from 13 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.
    The following measures will apply:
  • Payments will be made when Level 3 restrictions or higher are in place in line with the Plan for Living with COVID-19
  • Businesses will qualify where government restrictions directly prohibit or restrict customer access to their premises
  • Payments will be calculated on the basis of 10% of the first €1 million in turnover and 5% thereafter, based on average VAT exclusive turnover for 2019
  • A self- assessment of 80% disruption in turnover will be required

Irish Equity calls for more support for Arts workers

Irish Equity has said that Budget 2021 does not provide enough support for artists, theatre and entertainment workers.

Karan O Loughlin, Irish Equity Organiser, said: “While the announcement by Arts minister, Catherine Martin, of critical investment in the Arts is broadly welcome, there is not enough focus on retaining artists and arts workers in the sector.

“Artists and workers are being prevented from working because of the restrictions on gatherings and they need urgent and ongoing financial support. With the Arts, Culture and Entertainment expected to be hit harder by job losses than any other sector of the economy, funding must targeted towards those artists and creatives who are most exposed. 

“Irish Equity seeks to ensure that the funding announced in the budget promptly and directly benefits our members including actors, directors and theatre makers, dancers, designers, stage managers and other creatives. These people are the backbone of the creative industry. We also want to see funding channelled into building sustainability in the Arts.   

“For Irish Equity representatives, negotiations on better pay and conditions are just one feature of our work and we also campaign for a sustainable environment for workers. Being a member of the union is even more important for those employed in the Arts and Entertainment as this public health crisis continues.”  

Karan O’Loughlin was speaking at the release of a promotional video created by Irish Equity and highlighting the importance of the work done by the union on behalf of its members. 

The video features some of Ireland’s finest acting talent, discussing why membership of Irish Equity is important and the protections it offers them in the frequently precarious freelance world.  It also demonstrates the rich and rapidly growing diversity among the membership of Irish Equity.

Watch the video now

Registering Copyright

There is no registration procedure for copyright works under Irish copyright law, copyright protection is automatic and arises upon the creation of an original work. 

However, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has expanded its services targeting innovators and creators active in the digital economy by becoming a trusted Time Stamping Authority (TSA).  On 27th May 2020 WIPO launched a new tool called ‘WIPO PROOF’ to deliver this service.

Please note that you will incur a charge if you decide to avail of this service, further information on WIPO PROOF is available through the portal: https://wipoproof.wipo.int/wdts/, any queries regarding this new service should be issued directly to WIPO through the portal.

Combatting Harassment

We are glad to announce the new International Federation of Actors (FIA) Manual on Combatting Sexual Harassment is now available online and for download here in English, French and Spanish: DOWNLOAD NOW

This practical tool focuses on methodology and features “Resources, Inspiration and Recommended Practices among Performer Unions”. In addition, the FIA secretariat also maintains a page of online resources on the FIA website: DOWNLOAD NOW

Read the Irish Equity Bullying & Harassment Policy document

Irish Equity would like to invite you to read, use and share these links
and documents

Irish Equity endorses the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) National Arts Recovery Plan

Irish Equity today wholeheartedly endorsed the recovery programme which has been launched by the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) to ensure that the long term damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic to the sector is minimised. Karan O’Loughlin, Irish Equity Organiser, said that it wished to acknowledge “the widespread consultation and painstaking research undertaken by the many NCFA volunteers in drafting this National Arts Recovery Plan.

“All TV, Film and Theatre work has ceased and theatres will be among the last arts-based activities to resume full production because of the requirements of social distancing. This plan is a comprehensive document which details not alone the critical areas where a response by the State is most needed, but highlights how the wider community will benefit from each step. These are not handouts but an investment programme to restore the vibrancy of our arts sector, one of the most vibrant and inspiring success stories of modern Ireland.”

It is estimated that arts-based organisations are losing €2.9 million in income per month of shutdown and the economic impact to date is estimated at over €10 million. 19,000 days of paid work had been lost to the end of April 2020. Another €6.4 million in potential income will be lost from cancelled activities to the end of May. Over 12,000 events have been cancelled. In just 8 weeks, more than 2.4 million members of the public have lost out on participating in a variety of artistic experiences.

Padraig Murray, Irish Equity President said, “It is vitally important that the Minister, the wider Government, the Arts Council and all other relevant stakeholders, in cooperation with the entire arts community, now move with urgency to implement the 13 key points detailed in the document. The arts and culture sector has been decimated by this crisis and will be one of the last to recover, thus further impoverishing artists and arts workers further in this low pay sector.”

‘The Actor as Creator’ initiative

Dear Equity member,

Screen Ireland has announced details of a new ‘The Actor as Creator’ initiative to showcase Irish acting talent in partnership with Bow Street, with the support of Irish Equity. The ‘Actor as Creator’ is a new initiative designed to create a diverse range of work from unique creative voices within the Irish screen acting community. 

The scheme is designed to promote and invest in Irish screen acting talent, during a time when social distancing measures are affecting traditional production activity. This talent development and promotion initiative will showcase the unique creative voices of 30 actors to create a short filmic work that expresses their creative vision. The scheme is open to experienced screen actors and successful recipients will originate, perform and produce the short filmic work.

If you are interested in this and would like more details on how to apply for the Actor as Creator programme visit:

https://www.screenireland.ie/news/screen-ireland-bow-street-launch-new-initiative-the-actor-as-creator-to-sho

COVID-19 NCFA Survey

In an effort to assess potential damages of the impact of COVID-19 on the artistic community and to endeavour to provide potential solutions to the situation, the NFCA is collecting data to aggregate information on cancelled events, postponed performances, lost opportunities and loss of income in the sector. Please take a few minutes to fill in this important survey HERE

COVID-19 Coronavirus Information

Current Advice
Please see below for our current advice regarding coronavirus. This is an ever changing situation so click here to access the updated HSE advice

Financial advice
Understand your rights to the different kinds of financial support available during the Coronavirus outbreak and how to claim click here for more information. This includes support for the self-employed. The dedicated social protection #COVID19 phoneline is open from 9am-5pm, 01-2481398/ 1890-800-024 and people are asked to not visit your Intreo Centre if at all possible. To download the form click here or to get a form posted to you, please email forms@welfare.ie or call the phoneline.

Industry specific guides
The Arts Council has confirmed that it has notified theatres that it will honour all funding commitments made to them and that there will be no financial penalties for theatres that are unable to deliver key activities and events arising from the impact of the COVID-19 virus.  That will mean that theatres should, in turn, be able to honour commitments to artists. Equity is calling on these organisations to demonstrate their true creativity and reach out in new and inventive ways to the artist community to provided as much financial and community support as possible to artists. More info here

This will be more difficult for non-funded or non-commercial production so it important that members fully understand the state support available read more.

Recorded Media (Film, TV audio etc)
All production are now ceased or on notice or cessation. For information on specific productions contact Andrea at equity@siptu.ie or Karan at koloughlin@siptu.ie

Industry Support measures
Screen Ireland has announced an initial range of measures, all of which we hope will assist those working within the sector. 

These measures are as follows:

  • They will provide 90% funding upfront on all development loans to Irish screenwriters and production companies through to 31st May 2020.
  • Existing development and production loan offers which are due to expire in the coming months will all be extended to 31st May 2020.
  • They will provide additional marketing and distribution support for upcoming Irish film and TV releases during this period.
  • They will continue to provide skills development opportunities for industry practitioners, with Screen Skills Ireland delivering some of its planned activity for 2020 online free-of-charge over the next 6-10 weeks. 

From an operations perspective, Screen Ireland and Screen Skills Ireland staff continue to work remotely and all funding schemes will continue to be made available. They are supporting filmmakers and current productions on a case-by-case basis due to the numerous complexities and variables involved. The funding application process across all areas from development, production, distribution and publicity will continue as normally as possible.

During these exceptionally challenging circumstances, Screen Ireland will continue to work with their partners to monitor the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and will review and update these measures in response to further developments.  Screen Ireland can be contacted directly with any COVID-19 related queries or concerns at info@screenireland.ie.


Be safe and minimise Risk

In addition there are some simple things you can do to minimise risk.

Preventative measures
There are six simple things members can do to protect themselves and others:
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol sanitiser if handwashing facilities are not available.
2. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it in a bin. Catch it, Bin it, Kill it. Failing that, sneeze into your elbow and avoid coughing on or near others.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
4. Avoid travelling if you have a temperature or cough. If you feel unwell, seek medical advice.
5. If you are worried about your symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP.
6. If you begin to feel unwell, with your engager’s permission if at work, make your way safely home and contact a health professional for advice.

Work advice
Where you are concerned about an engagement being cancelled or a contract being terminated due to coronavirus issues, please contact Irish Equity for specific advice about your situation. Andrea – equity@siptu.ie Karan – koloughlin@siptu.ie or through our website irishequity.ie (can you make this a link to the website?)

Contract issues
A matter that may arise in relation to cancelled engagements or contracts is the concept of ‘force majeure’. This will usually be a clause in the contract that outlines circumstances under which the contract may be said to have been cancelled because of events or circumstances outside the engagers control. Another concept is ‘frustration of contract’ where the contract may be said to have been discontinued because of unforeseen circumstances. The issues around these, and other contract matters, are never simple and often subject to interpretation, so your Irish Equity can be the first port of call for any query.

Join Irish Equity online

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