30/10/2018
In Focus,

Our Rates are out of Date

Above is a simple breakdown of the MPPA and BREA rates see below for a detailed description of what this all means from Committee member Nigel Davenport.

WHAT DOES THAT ALL MEAN?

The Yellow header, “BREA Minimums”, shows the various rates reflected in the Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award (BREA). The BREA has 18 Levels as opposed to the 10 levels that we work with in the film industry, however the equivalents are stated in the award and the chart shows where they kick in. The important thing about the BREA is that the minimums set in the award are the legal minimums payable to workers in the industry and this applies right across the sector. If you are being paid less than the minimum rate for your level then your employer is breaking the law and can be prosecuted.

The Blue header, “MPPA 2012 minimums”, shows the current rates under the Motion Picture Production Agreement (MPPA) that most of us are familiar with. The difference between the BREA and the MPPA lies in the last word of each. The Award is determined by the Fair Work Commission whereas the Agreement is a result of a negotiation between MEAA and Screen Producers Australia (SPA). This certified Agreement was negotiated in 2010 and had 3 years of pay rises built into it. These ceased in 2012 and haven’t moved since.

The figures in red are the interesting ones: these reflect the 2012 MPPA minimums that are now lower than the current equivalent BREA minimums. They apply to every level except level 7. This means that producers using the MPPA 2012 minimums are in fact paying below the award minimum and are consequently in breach of the Award.

The green header, “Adjusted MEAA Minimums 2018”, lists what the minimum would be if the Fair Work Commission annual minimum wage increases had been applied to MPPA rates from 2013 onwards. Each year the Fair Work Commission mandates an across-the-board rate increase to account for cost of living increases – this applies to the BREA but not the Agreement. MEAA has kept track of where the MPPA should be in relation to minimum wages and these figures reflect that.  The adjusted MPPA rates maintain the margin between the minimum wage and the MPPA’s minimum industry rate and are recommended by MEAA so that producers can be assured that they are not paying employees less than the Award when differences in conditions between the MPPA and Award are taken into account. The Yellow header, “BREA Minimums”, shows the various rates reflected in the Broadcasting and Recorded Entertainment Award (BREA). The BREA has 18 Levels as opposed to the 10 levels that we work with in the film industry, however the equivalents are stated in the award and the chart shows where they kick in. The important thing about the BREA is that the minimums set in the award are the legal minimums payable to workers in the industry and this applies right across the sector. If you are being paid less than the minimum rate for your level then your employer is breaking the law and can be prosecuted.

MEAA and SPA are currently in negotiation over a new MPPA. We are hoping to have movement from SPA soon – they had undertaken to come back to us with an offer at the end of June. That clearly hasn’t happened but we are keeping up the pressure and obtained a verbal undertaking that they would at the very least address the minimum rates and annual adjustments at the last face to face meeting.

I hope this lays out the situation a bit more clearly. It can be difficult to find the relevant rates (The BREA is 138 pages long) and I am grateful to Kelly Wood from MEAA for producing this excellent summary chart. This information should be widely circulated among not only crew but also producers and funding bodies so that the facts of the matter are in the open and up for discussion and positive action.

Nigel Devenport

 

See the MPPA Agreement for classification levels.

Posted on