Dismissal Pay – What You Need to Know

Rusteen Honardoost / December 20, 2018

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If you find yourself laid off from a job at a union studio, you may be entitled to Dismissal Pay. The amount you may receive is based off how long you have worked without a break in continuous employment.

For these purposes, a “break in continuous employment” includes: Voluntary resignation, discharge for cause, layoff for more than 110 days, absence due to illness/injury in excess of 12 months, and an unauthorized leave of absence. These conditions apply across all Animation Guild contracts.

For guild members working under the Animation Guild Master Collective Bargaining Agreement, you are eligible for dismissal pay 110 days after you have been laid off. The rate of dismissal pay is determined by how long you worked for your employer. If you have worked:

  • Between 3 – 6 months, then you shall receive 1.25 day’s pay
  • Between 6 months – 1 year, you shall receive 1 weeks’ pay
  • 1 year or more, you shall receive 2 weeks’ pay.

Under the Master Agreement, the rate of pay is based off the applicable minimum hourly rate. If you earn between 100% and 150% of the minimum, then you will receive dismissal pay based on your contracted rate of pay. However if you earn more than 150% of the minimum, then your dismissal pay rate will be no less than 150% of the applicable minimum, unless you have previously negotiated for a higher rate. This provision only applies to guild members working under the Master Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Under the WAG (Warner Feature) and TSL (Walt Disney Animation Studio) agreements, you are eligible for dismissal pay 90 days after you have been laid off. To receive dismissal pay, you must submit a request to your employer’s HR department within 120 days of eligibility. The payment rates are as follows:

  • Between 3 – 6 months, then you shall receive 1.25 day’s pay
  • Between 6 months – 1 year, you shall receive 1 weeks’ pay
  • 1 year or more, you shall receive 2 weeks’ pay.

Under the Nickelodeon agreement, you are eligible for dismissal pay 90 days after you have been laid off. To receive dismissal pay, you must submit a request to your employer’s HR department within 120 days of eligibility. The payment rates are as follows:

  • Between 6 months – 1 year, you shall receive 1 weeks’ pay
  • 1 year or more, you shall receive 2 weeks’ pay

If you work for Sony Pictures Animation, then you are entitled to Severance Pay, which has its own set of pay rates. You are eligible 90 days after you have been laid off. To receive dismissal pay, you must submit a request to your employer’s HR department within 120 days of eligibility. The payment rates are as follows:

  • After 2 years, you will receive 1 weeks’ pay
  • After 5 years, you will receive 2 weeks’ pay
  • After 7 years, you will receive 3 weeks’ pay
  • After 10 years, you will receive 5 weeks’ pay

If you find yourself in a position where you do not believe you have received the dismissal pay you are entitled to, the Guild encourages you to reach out to your studio’s HR department. If you have any issues receiving your dismissal pay, please contact the Animation Guild office for assistance at 818-845-7500.

Note: All terms and conditions reported above are derived from the appropriate contracts. If there is any inconsistency between this information and the contract, the contract controls.

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