As employers, arts organisations must comply with employment legislation while actively managing work environments that support people to do their best work. Board directors also have a duty of care to all individuals engaged in a professional employment capacity within arts organisations – whether they are employees, volunteers, on contracts for services or freelancers. We have developed this employment documentation to help keep all the policies, statements and processes used by the theatre and wider performing arts community up to date. Regularly reviewing and updating your organisation’s employment documentation as well as adoption of the Safe to Create Code will help promote good employment practices and safe arts workplaces.
Statement of Terms of Employment
Legally, all employees must get a written statement of the terms of their employment regardless of their contract type. Many full-time and part-time arts organisation employees have open-ended contracts of employment that continue until the employer or employee ends it. Other employees have fixed-term or specified-purpose contracts which end on a specific date or when a particular role or task is completed. Theatre Forum’s sample Performer Contract is one example of a fixed-term employment contract.
Currently, employers must give a new employee the part of their written statement of terms of employment that sets out the main or core terms of their employment within the first five days of starting a job. This is often referred to as the ‘Statement of Main Terms’ and detailed in pages 2 and 3 of our sample Statement. Then within one month of starting the job, employers must give a new employee all the remaining terms of their employment set out in full in our sample Statement of Terms of Employment.
When there’s a change in terms or conditions of employment for existing employees, then the employee should get and sign an updated Statement of Terms of Employment too.
If employees are required to work outside Ireland for at least one month, they must be given a written statement of the terms and conditions of employment before leaving the country. This must include the country or countries in which they will work, the duration of the work, the currency in which they will be paid, and any other benefits for working abroad.
Under current Irish employment legislation, employers must issue a written statement of the terms of their employment to new employees within one month of commencing work. It’s good practice to issue the Employee Handbook at the same time. The Employee Handbook contains the information which the employer wishes to convey about company policies and procedures. It should help to establish the company way of doing things and importantly, let employees know that there is a system for dealing with most problems which can arise in the workplace.
With changes in Irish employment law, it will be necessary to update the organisation’s policies and procedures in the Employee Handbook. When updates occur, new editions of the Employee Handbook should be circulated, signed by all employees and kept on company files. More about contracts of employment and legislation on the Workplace Relations Commission’s (WRC’s) website.
Theatre Forum is committed to promoting good employment practices in the performing arts. For many years, members have been able to download and adapt sample contracts for their production, so our sample contracts have been widely shared and circulated.
More recent legislative changes, a focus on cancellation clauses during Covid as well as fee negotiations now involving streaming and Video On Demand meant that all Theatre Forum’s sample contracts drafted pre-Covid needed updating.
Last year, we took the opportunity to work with solicitor Andrea Martin of MediaLawyer Solicitors to draft new sample contracts and take all the legislative, contractual, and employment changes in our sector into account.
Performer and Designer Sample Contracts
For artists and arts workers, two new contracts are now available. The Performer Sample Contract is a contract of service and the Designer Sample Contract is a contract for services. Both are now available to download, edit and customise for any production. They replace all previous versions but as they are samples, they will always require customisation for your production.
We would like to thank everyone who has already contributed their expertise to updating these contracts. We hope that you and your colleagues find them useful.
Performer Sample Contract
This contract of service is a Fixed Term one where the Performer is an employee or on payroll, with PAYE, PRSI and USC being deducted at the applicable rates.
With significant amendments, this contract could also be issued to a performer who is self-employed, an independent contractor paying their own tax and recognised by Revenue to be a self-employed, Schedule D taxpayer.
Sound Designer Sample Contract
This contract is for use where the services of a self-employed Sound Designer, recognised by Revenue to be a self-employed, Schedule D taxpayer, is being retained for a production. It’s also suitable, subject to amendments to the terminology as well as the contract’s Special and General Conditions, where the services of a Set Designer, Lighting Designer, or Costume Designer are being retained.
For productions where designers contract through a limited liability or loan-out company, this Designer Sample Contract requires amendment and legal advice.
Sound Designer and Composer Services combined
The Sound Designer Sample Contract contains an Addendum which allows the contract and fee to be split into a part Sound Designer, part Composer one, clarifying the license and royalty payment agreements.
Sample Performer and Designer Contracts
An overview for Praxis Forum
With thanks to Andrea Martin of MediaLawyer Solicitors
Rules determining Contracts of Service for employees and Contracts for Services for self-employed workers are clearly set out by Revenue.
Here are the relevant links:
Determining the employment status of an individual
Venue Sample Contracts
For arts centre and venue directors, negotiating and contracting with production companies and promoters has always been a key and important task. During Covid a sharp and urgent focus on Force Majeure cancellation and clauses as well as guarantees, safety, insurance, and indemnification suggested that most pre-Covid contracts needed updating.
We have worked with solicitor Andrea Martin of MediaLawyer Solicitors to draft new sample contracts for venues contracting with production companies and promoters. We expect that these Venue and Production Company and Venue and Promoter Sample Contracts will cover most venue agreements. They replace all previous versions of Theatre Forum sample contracts which you may have used in the past. They are available to download, edit, and are designed to be easily customised for your agreements with sample clauses that you can include, amend, or leave out.
We would like to thank the many Arts Centre and Venue Directors and Producers who have already contributed their experience and expertise to help us update these sample contracts. We hope that you and your colleagues find them useful in future negotiations.
Venue and a Production Company Sample Contract
A sample contract containing base-line terms that apply to most Venue / Production Company agreements with the option of adding specific detail relevant to a particular production.
Venue and a Promoter Sample Contract Sample Contract
A sample contract containing base-line terms that apply to most Venue / Promoter agreements with the option of adding specific detail relevant to a particular production.
SAFE TO CREATE
SAFE TO CREATE is a Dignity at Work programme looking to ensure safe and respectful working conditions for those working in the arts and creative sectors. Delivered by Irish Theatre Institute in partnership with the Arts Council, Screen Ireland, and Minding Creative Minds, it features supports to combat harmful behaviour in the workplace, including information, training, counselling and legal advice for those in need. It includes:
A resource-rich website, www.safetocreate.ie, with key information, toolkits and templates for artists and organisations regarding rights and responsibilities;
24-hour counselling service by Minding Creative Minds, including specialist trauma counselling for victims of harmful behaviour and access to legal advice (1800 814 244);
Training programmes on of tackling bullying and harassment, unconscious bias, bystander training, intimacy coordination and much more, all specifically developed for the arts sector;
A Code of Behaviour developed to enable organisations to create workplaces free from bullying, intimidation and harassment of any kind;
Workshops around the country to provide information and support to implement the Code of Behaviour;
An anonymous reporting facility, where artists and arts workers can report incidents of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment without the need to identify themselves or disclose sensitive and personal details (not yet live);
A research programme to examine the prevalence and impact of harmful behaviours in Ireland’s arts sector; and to measure the impact of the ‘Safe to Create’ programme.
SAFE TO CREATE want artists and arts workers to know their rights, to have information regarding dignity at work, and to know what services and supports exist when things go wrong. We want arts organisations to commit to playing their part in providing safe workplaces for artists and arts workers.
Please visit www.safetocreate.ie to find out more about the supports available to you. Please sign up to the Safe to Create newsletter to hear about events and developments.
Please spread the word with your creative peers and colleagues. If any queries: firstname.lastname@example.org