Tag Archives: Need to Know

Family Leave – What You Need to Know

Whether you’re welcoming a new child into your home or taking care of an ill family member, the last thing you should be worrying about is your job. That is why it is important for everyone to understand what rights you and your co-workers have when it comes to Family Leave.

Family Leave provides you with stability when you need it most, in some cases offering paid time off as well as ensuring your job will still be waiting for you when you return.

In the animation industry, you may have access to family leave from four different sources: 1) Your employer’s individual family leave policies; 2) The Animation Guild Master Agreement; 3) State law, and; 4) Federal law.

Employers are permitted and encouraged to provide the most robust family leave possible to their employees. We recommend all Guild members reach out to their employer’s HR department to see if any Family Leave is offered beyond what is provided through the Animation Guild Agreement and applicable laws.

The 2018-2021 Animation Guild Master Agreement added Article 27, providing Parental Leave to any employee working under a Personal Service Contract that guarantees at least 26 weeks of employment.

If you qualify, you are entitled to up to eight consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, after which you will be reinstated to your original position, so long as that position still exists at the end of your leave. Your producer can require you to use accrued vacation days prior to taking unpaid leave; however, the total amount of leave provided under this article will not be more than eight consecutive weeks.

California has four applicable laws. Under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), you and your spouse or registered domestic partner may have family leave and family rights. Any employer who has at least 50 employees in a 75 mile radius of the work site must provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to bond with a new child, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or tend to your own serious health condition. In order to qualify, you must have been an employee for at least 12 months in total and have worked at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months.

The California New Parent Leave Act (NPLA) applies to any employer who has at least 20 employees. To qualify for up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, you must have been an employee for at least 12 months in total and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months.

The California Pregnancy Disability Law (PDL) allows up to four months of job-protected leave if you are disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related condition. This length of time is determined by a healthcare provider and applies to any employer who has at least five employees. PDL leave may be used in addition to CFRA or NPLA leave. Unlike the aforementioned rights, the PDL only applies to the pregnant parent.

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits discrimination due to pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. This act also protects your right to reasonable pregnancy accommodation in your workplace as recommended by a healthcare provider, and provides job protection while you use disability leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or a related health condition.

In addition, California Paid Family Leave (PFL) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) may provide partial income replacement during your leave of up to six weeks for PFL and six to eight weeks for SDI, or more when SDI is combined with PDL. To qualify, you must have earned at least $300 in the last five to 18 months from which SDI deductions were withheld. To confirm eligibility, look for the CA SDI tax deduction on your paystubs.

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), any employer who has at least 50 employees in a 75 mile radius of the work site must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child, care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or tend to your own serious health condition (which may include pregnancy). In order to qualify, you must have been an employee for at least 12 months in total and have worked at least 1,250 hours over the last 12 months.

If you have any questions regarding Family Leave, or have any issues receiving the family leave to which you are entitled, please contact the Animation Guild office for assistance at 818-845-7500; the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (CFRA, NPLA, PDL, FEHA) at 1-800-884-1684 ; the California Employee Development Department PFL Program at 1-877-238-4373; SDI at 1-800-480-3287; or the Department of Labor (FMLA) at 1-866-487-2365.

To learn more about your rights, you can also reference the Department of Fair Employment and Housing Frequently Asked Questions resource as well as the TAG Family & Personal Leave Subcommittee blog.

Note: Workers outside of California should refer to applicable laws in their state of residency. 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.

Dismissal Pay – What You Need to Know

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.