Listed below are FAQs for contributing employers, divided into categories. If you have additional questions or need assistance, contact the Equity-League Benefit Funds Accounts Receivable representative assigned to your account at (212) 869-9380 (New York City) or toll free outside of NYC (800) 344-5220.
Reporting and amounts due
Do I need to use the Equity-League Benefit Funds Report Forms when reporting the salaries for the cast of a particular show, or can I use my own?
You may use your own form, provided that it includes all the pertinent information. If you are unsure about whether the form you will be using will be acceptable, please contact the Equity-League Benefit Funds office, and we will be happy to review the format.
When reporting the salary for a performer who is a corporation, can I use the Federal Tax ID number for the corporation?
No. You must use the participant’s Social Security number.
Can I use a single report form to submit the earnings for more than one week of work, or for more than one show?
No. You must use one form per week per show.
Can I pay the pension, health, and 401(k) contributions on a single check?
Yes. You may combine the total contribution due for different shows and different week endings (the Equity-League Benefit Funds office will allocate the appropriate amounts to the proper funds). However, please be sure to attach the week ending pension, health, and 401(k) reports that are due per week, and per show. Please note that if you are also making interest payments, a separate check is required.
What is the health, pension, and/or 401(k) rate for my contract?
Please contact the Actors’ Equity business representative assigned to the contract for the correct rate.
What is the total weekly Pensionable Payments/Wages per performer?
The “Pensionable Payments” refers to the salary for which pension contributions are being made. The pensionable amount depends on the type of contract. Please contact your Business Representative for the pension rate that must be paid on Pensionable Payments.
If I participate in the 401(k) Plan, what is the total salary per week that may be used to calculate contributions?
The 401(k) plan has a weekly limit of $7,500. Therefore, if a member is making above this amount weekly, it will be reduced to $7,500, in order to make employer and deferral contributions to the Plan. Anything paid above this limit will be refunded, upon request, to the employer.
Why is there an additional rate associated with the weekly health contribution amount?
An employer is required to pay a Supplemental Workers Compensation rate in addition to the weekly regular health contribution amount. This is required under most contracts, to administer the cost of the Supplemental Workers’ Compensation Plan. When a work-sustained injury or sickness, which qualifies for coverage under the applicable Workers’ Compensation law, results in a loss of time and salary, supplemental salary continuation benefits will be paid to the performer by the Equity-League Benefit Funds.
If a performer works only one day, is a health contribution due for the entire week?
Most contracts require a health contribution for the full week even when a performer works only one day. There are, however, exceptions. Please refer to your contract or contact, your Actors’ Equity business representative to determine if a health contribution is due.
If I am currently in the process of allocating tax relief to cover the pension and/or 401(k) contributions, do I need to make contributions until the Tax Relief has been allocated?
Yes. An employer in the process of allocating tax relief must continue to make contributions until such time as sufficient funds have accumulated to cover the contribution on salary. Cash payments are due for these contributions on a weekly basis. This is because until you preview/open in a Tax Relief Theatre, the Equity-League Benefit Funds will not receive any contributions other than the cash payments.
Can an actor/stage manager defer or contribute to the 401(k) Plan from overscale per diem?
Deferred employee salary contributions can only be made from taxable income. If an actor or stage manager is being paid expenses, he or she may only make deferrals from TAXABLE overscale per diem.
Payments, deadlines, and penalties
What are the deadlines for submitting the week ending reports and the corresponding contributions?
For pension, health and 401(k) reports and contributions: Week ending reports are due no later than the end of the week following the week in which the work was performed. If these contributions are not received by the end of the period, you will begin to accrue interest owed to Equity-League Benefit Funds.
Why do I have to pay contributions and/or interest to Equity-League Benefit Funds?
By entering into a contract with the Actors’ Equity Association, employers agree to be bound by the Agreement and Declaration of Trust establishing the Equity-League Pension, Health, and 401(k) Trust Funds. This means employers are bound by all rules and regulations of the Pension, Health, and 401(k) Funds. Federal law under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) also imposes duties upon those responsible for the operation of an employee benefit plan, including the charging of interest for late contributions.
How is interest calculated?
Interest is assessed on pension and health payments received three weeks (or, two weeks for 401(k) payments) after the week ending date. Interest is assessed at the prime rate issued on the most recent Jan. 1 or July 1 plus 2%.
If I owe a lot of money to Equity-League Benefit Funds, but I am having financial difficulties, can I set up a payment plan?
Depending on the circumstances, a payment plan may be able to be designed for you in accordance with Equity-League Benefit Funds procedures. Please contact your Equity-League Benefit Funds Accounts Receivable representative to discuss your options.
Who is my Business Representative?
Please contact the Actors’ Equity Association, and an Actors’ Equity staff member will advise you.
Why can't I get my security bond money back?
Bonding will not release the security bond money until the Equity-League Pension and Health Departments have no claims on the bond. Please note that the same applies if another department – for instance, the Membership Department – has a claim on the bond; therefore you should contact the Bonding Department to learn which departments have a claim on the bond. Once you know which departments have a claim, please contact those departments directly to resolve the claims. If you participate in the 401(k) Plan, please note that the 401(k) Department may also have a claim on the bond.
If an actor/stage manager is incorporated and employed through the corporation, can he or she still participate in the 401(k) Plan?
Actors who are incorporated and employed through the corporation will be eligible for employer contributions. However, they will not be eligible for salary deferrals.