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Signatory Employer FAQs

The Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan and the Writers’ Guild-Health Fund recognize that you have many questions regarding reportable earnings and contributions paid by a Signatory Employer. To help you better understand our Business Rules and Fund policy listed below, here are some general questions and answers.

In general, in order to report earnings or remit contribution to the Pension Plan or Health Fund, you must sign an agreement that allows the Fund to accept contributions on behalf of your covered writers. The collective bargaining agreements define the covered services for which contributions are due and the basis for the computation of those contributions to the Funds. The Board of Directors/Trustees of the Plan and the Fund are responsible for the collection of contributions in accordance with the Trust agreements. Only Companies signed to the appropriate agreement can make contributions to the Pension and Health Funds. Note: Federal law (ERISA Section 515) requires that contributions must be made in accordance with the terms of the Plan/Fund. Please Contact the Signatory Department of the Writers Guild of America, East at (212) 767-7837 or the Writers Guild of America, West at (323) 782-4514 for information on becoming a Signatory Employer.

A: Employers must first sign a collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America, East or West. The collective bargaining agreements define the covered services for which contributions are due and the basis for calculating the reportable earnings. After the Funds receive copies of your signatory documents, you will be sent a New Signatory package. The New Signatory Welcome Package contains all the information needed to understand the rules of the Funds, including how to determine what are covered earnings and how to calculate pension and health contributions. If you have questions, please call the Contribution Processing Department at (818) 846-1015, press "3", then "2" when prompted. Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.

The Writers Guild of America is the organization that negotiates the master collective bargaining agreements (Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), National, Network, PBS, etc)) with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and Studios. Employers can sign through the AMPTP or contact the Guild directly. The Pension Plan and Health Fund cannot accept contributions unless a company has signed a collective bargaining, assumption, or distribution agreement. Please contact the Signatory Departments of the Writer's Guild East at (212) 767-7837 / or Writers Guild West at (323) 782-4514/

A: The package contains a general overview memo of the current MBA agreement, related and affiliated company information and forms to be filled out and returned to the Funds. It also includes information for reporting contributions on 10% owner/writers, Pension Plan and Health Fund rates and the Collections Program memo.

In addition to the above, you will receive a booklet containing the following:

  • Business Rules for Contribution Processing
  • Report of Contributions Instructions
  • Report of Contributions
  • Electronic File Layout
  • Employer Guide to Ceiling Calculation and Contribution Rates (updated for 5/2/14 implementation)
  • Summary Schedule of Reportable Earnings

Please review the information in the package and call the Funds if you have any questions.

A: No, but if a writer performs covered services for a signatory employer, contributions must be paid on their behalf. Membership in the Guild is not required.

A: A Report of Contributions (ROC) is the reporting form that allows the Plan/ Fund to accept contributions from signatory employers. The covered earnings reported and contributions due are calculated based on a writer's written contract and the rules of the Collective Bargaining and Trust Agreements. ROC's can be submitted on paper or electronically. Payments should to be made payable to the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan and Writers'-Guild Industry Health Fund. For your convenience, one check payable to the Writers'-Guild Industry Health Fund may be submitted but the amounts payable to each fund must be indicated. If you are sending an electronic file (preferred method), please encrypt the file and send the password in a subsequent email. We will be happy to assist in setting up electronic reporting for your company.

For US employers remitting contributions to the Pension Plan and Health Fund, it is mandatory that you provide your company's Federal ID Number. In addition please pay attention to items 1 and 27 on the ROC and provide the Plan/Fund with a fax number, phone number and a contact person in case there are questions about your ROC.

A: Effective May 2, 2014:

  • Pension Plan – 8.5% (7% for all pilots and the first year of new one-hour series)
  • The 8.5% rate is applicable to week-to-week and term reportable amounts regardless of contract date as well as flat-deal contracts dated 5/2/14 or later.

  • Health Fund – 8.5%

Guaranteed flat-deal employment (screenplays, episodic scripts, mow's, etc.) is reportable at the contribution rate and ceiling in effect on the writer's contract date. Optional services are reportable at the contribution rate and ceiling in effect on the date the optional service is exercised (default to pay date if actual date is unknown).

A: Covered earnings are compensation amounts paid to a writer that are subject to contributions. The maximum earnings amount on which contributions are due is called the ceiling. Once covered earnings up to the ceiling have been reported and contributions remitted, no further contributions are due.

A: The television ceiling is the maximum amount of earnings that are reportable to the Funds on a per project basis. For television, the ceiling is calculated using the applicable minimums (other than network prime time rates) contained in Article 13B of the MBA that correspond to your writer's hired writing services. The ceiling is 2.5X the applicable minimum or initial compensation, whichever is greater, not to exceed certain amounts in relation to mow's and mini-series (see below).

For example, if you hire a writer to write a network prime time story & teleplay for a 60 minute episode with initial compensation of $36,457 (network prime time minimum, NPT), based on a writing services contract dated 6/15/14, the applicable minimum would be $25,295 (other than network rate for 60 minute story & teleplay in June 2014, OTPT).

Multiply the $25,295 by 2.5 and the ceiling is $63,238. Subtract the reportable initial compensation of $36,457 and you are left with $26,781. Any reportable residual, bonus, or profit participation the writer receives up to the amount of $26,781 is reportable. Once that amount is reported, the writer/project reaches the ceiling and no further earnings are reportable.

Here's how it works on a program made for network prime time:
NPT = Network Prime Time, OTNP = Other than Network Prime Time

Initial Compensation



Applicable Minimum $25,295    OTNP
  $63,238    Ceiling
  ($36,457)    Initial Comp
  $26,781    Reportable Balance

you are working on a network prime time show and your episode first re-airs on network prime time, your first NPT residual payment will be $25,295, leaving $1,486 reportable ($63,238 - $36,457 - $25,295 = $1,486). This is why network prime time episodes reach the ceiling so quickly. Generally, the ceiling is reached on the 2nd rerun.

If the program was made for Basic Cable the calculation would look like this:
NPT = Network Prime Time, OTNP = Other than Network Prime Time

Initial Compensation



Applicable Minimum $25,295    OTPT
  $63,238    Ceiling
  ($25,295)    Initial Comp
  $37,943    Reportable Balance

As you can see, the reportable balance of $37,943 is greater than $26,781 for a network prime time program so it will take a writer longer to reach the ceiling for a program made for Basic Cable. It takes a little longer for a Basic Cable programs to reach the ceiling but usually after about 4-5 reruns no further residuals are reportable.

If the three levels of foreign residuals are paid first, the payment would be $8,853.25 (35% of $25,295). Residual payments will differ based on the market being reported. It may take a writer one month to reach the ceiling or years.

If a writer works on a mini-series or MOW and their initial compensation is more than $225,000, only the first $225,000 for the Pension Plan and $250,000 for the Health Fund are reportable. If the writer is paid less than $225,000 and $250,000 the applicable minimum calculation is used but total amount reportable would not exceed $225,000 to the Pension Plan and $250,000 to the Health Fund. A mini-series has one ceiling per mini-series, not per segment.

There are flat ceilings for theatrical motion pictures. The current (2/13/08-current) ceilings are $225,000 in covered earnings to the Pension Plan and $250,000 to the Health Fund.

A: No. Only covered earnings are reportable up to a ceiling. Pilots have a new ceiling effective 5/2/14. Pilots 30 minutes in length are capped at $170,000. Pilots over 30 minutes are capped at $225,000. Some types of compensation are not reportable at all. Refer to the Reportable Summary Schedule under Rates/Information/Forms.

The Employer may also contact the Employer Compliance Department at (818) 846-1015, press "3", then "1" when prompted.

A: Yes, a Bonus is reportable up to the ceiling per project. The applicable ceiling and contribution rate is determined by the writer's contract date. The Bonus is reportable when the event that triggers the Bonus occurs.

A: Weekly employers are required to remit contributions with a completed Report of Contributions (either transmitted electronically or on paper) not more than ten (10) business days after the close of the payroll week during which the writer is paid or due compensation. Contributions are deemed to be delinquent if they have not been received within thirty (30) calendar days from the "due" date. If the payment is not made by the end of the thirty (30) day grace period, interest will be charged from the end of the week in which the writer was paid or due contributions.

Monthly employers are required to remit contributions with a completed Report of Contributions (either transmitted electronically or on paper) not more than ten (10) business days after the close of the month during which the writer is paid or due compensation. Contributions are deemed to be delinquent if they have not been received within ten (10) calendar days from the "due" date. If the payment is not made by the end of the ten (10) day grace period, interest will be charged from the end of the month in which the writer was paid or due contributions. Contributions not received by the 24th of the following month are delinquent.

The Administrative Office will help you determine if you are a "weekly" or "monthly" employer.

A: Please remit payments as follows: Signatory Company Checks, Cashier Check, Wire Transfer, or Money Orders. Note: all personal checks will be returned unless the signatory employer is a sole proprietor.

Unless you are remitting via a payroll service, all checks must be drawn on the bank account of the signatory employer, not the parent company. Checks that are not paid by the appropriate entity will be returned.

A: Salary advances are reportable when the writer receives the payment. If a writer receives the salary advance significantly prior to rendering services, it may affect their eligibility for coverage.

A: Effective for contracts dated 5/2/14 or later, payments to hold a writer (or writer employed in additional capacities) during an option period on an episodic series or serial are reportable.

A: Yes. Agency fees are considered part of total reportable compensation.

A: No. Employers are required to remit contributions without being billed within the time limits listed above. The Funds will issue a bill if it is determined that the contributions are delinquent. Under the rules of ERISA, contributions must be made in accordance with the terms of the plan, and that ERISA Section 502g-2 provides for mandatory interest on unpaid contributions at the rate established by the Funds.

When contributions are deemed late, interest is calculated and accumulates at the rate of 10% per annum (approximately .83% per month). Continuing interest will be charged if the delinquency and interest due are not paid after a billing letter is issued to the employer. There are certain limitations on continuing interest in those cases in which delinquent contributions are paid before a lawsuit is filed. (No limitations apply for those cases in which a lawsuit is filed.)

A: If an employer contributes on behalf of a writer who did not perform covered writing services, or if the employer contributes on a greater amount than a writer was paid, or if the earnings are reported in an incorrect time period, or the writer was reported over the ceiling for a project, the result may be the payment of pension or health benefits to which the writer is not entitled. In such cases, the employer is liable to pay back (a) the amount determined periodically by the Trustees as being sufficient to provide benefits, or (B) benefits the Health Fund and the Health Fund's insurance carrier paid on behalf of the writer or other person all the benefits paid out on behalf of the writer. The Health Fund shall also recover from the employer the cost of collecting these amounts, including attorney fees, interest and audit fees.

A: Maybe. Effective May 2, 1998, purchases became reportable if you hire a "professional writer" as that term is defined in the MBA, and also hire the same writer to perform writing services on the project (such as rewrite or polish). If the writer is required to perform writing services before the script is purchased, that may qualify the writer for "professional" status (please check with the Guild). Speculative writing is not reportable. There must be an employer/employee relationship. The purchase is reportable up to the ceiling per project.

Please contact the Employer Compliance Department at 818-846-1015, press "3", then "1" for more information.

A: Options are never reportable. However, if the option is "carved out" of a purchase price, and you hire the same writer to perform covered services (such as rewrite or polish), then the option may be reportable as a part of the purchase price, but never on its' own.

For example, you option a theatrical project for $10,000. The total purchase price is $100,000. The writer will receive payments of $10,000 for the option and $90,000 for the purchase. The $10,000 is "carved out" of the total purchase price. You hire the writer to perform a rewrite for $50,000. If the writer is a "professional writer" the purchase is reportable. You will pay pension and health contributions on $150,000.

If the purchase is paid before the writing services, it becomes reportable in the same time period that the writing services are reportable. If the purchase is made after the writing services are reportable, the purchase is reportable at the time the purchase is made. Some option payments are not "carved out" of the purchase price.

A: The ER Project ID is any number or code that your company uses to identify a project. Providing this information helps ensure that the covered earnings are credited to the right project for ceiling calculations. All fields in blue must be filled for the report to be processed. Please provide as many of the yellow fields as possible to help the Funds determine if contributions are being reported correctly. Click here for the ROC.

A: Yes. You can download the form by clicking here. You can email the Contribution Processing Department or you can fax your request to the Contribution Department at (818) 526-3197. If you are going to send the form back through fax or email, please do not include social security numbers. A representative of the Contribution Processing Department will contact you when the form is received. If you send an encrypted file, you may include social security numbers. Please send the password via email.

A: You can contact the Contribution Processing Department for instructions on how to transmit your files electronically.

A: Rarely. Covered earnings are reportable in the period in which the writer earned the compensation. If writers work in June but are not paid until July, the earnings should be reported on the June report. Signatory employers are responsible for putting the exact work period when the compensation was earned on the report of contributions.

Usually the work range is based on when the writing services are performed. For example, delivery of a final draft on June 17th will be listed on the June Report of Contributions. If a writer never performs the hired service, the contributions are allocated to the time period when the writer actually receives the compensation. Contributions are reportable when they are earned or paid in that order.

A: For television writers working in an additional capacity, please refer to Article 14pdf of the Basic Agreement for current minimum weekly reportable amounts. Your writer would be reportable under Article 14K. A minimum weekly reportable amount is due along with any episodic script payments, program fees, or residuals to the ceiling per episode.

A: Yes. If you are a Canadian company, your must be signed to a Side Letter agreeing to abide by the MBA rules and the writer must receive a waiver of the Guild's Working Rule 8. Please contact the Canadian Side letter Coordinator at Writers Guild East or West for signatory documents, WR8 waivers, residuals on Canadian Side Letter projects, and all related inquiries.

All other companies located outside the USA are required to remit contributions on covered earnings. Please call the Trust Funds at (818) 846-1015, press "3", then "1", Guild West at (323) 782-4516 or Guild East at (212) 767-7837 for additional information.

A: A bona fide team of of 2 writers will share one ceiling. If the compensation is divided equally in the contract, 50% of the ceiling will apply to each writer. For example, on a theatrical motion picture each writer will have $112,500 reported to pension and $125,000 reported to health if their compensation is equal to or greater that $225,000 for the Pension Plan and $250,000 for the Health Fund.

If the team does not split the compensation equally, the ceiling will be allocated according to the percentage of compensation received by each writer (25%/75%, or 40%/60% or as indicated in the writers' contract). Bona fide teams of three will split 200% of the single ceiling. For teams of 4 or more, please contact the Guild.

If you hired a married (or same sex domestic partners) writing team and neither writer will earn enough to qualify for employer paid coverage, the Guild may grant a special waiver to divide the compensation so one member of the team will qualify for coverage and cover the other writer through payment of the Dependent Premium. Please have your writers contact the Guild for more information.

A: The Funds will accept contributions on projects that were previously reported by Signatory Employers. Remember, ceilings are calculated per writer/per project so make sure you know what was reported by previous companies so you do not over report (or under report). It is also very important that you check with the company from whom you are assuming a project to make sure they paid their pension and health contribution obligations in full before assuming the project, or you may assume that obligation as well.

A: The prevailing tax laws require the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan Administrator to verify the affiliation pdf, if any, among the companies that contribute to the Plan. Companies associated under the definition of Parent/Subsidiary Groups or Brother/Sister relationships need to be reported to the Funds on this form. This information is required to correctly calculate the pension benefit payable to a retiring participant.

The Internal Revenue Code treats commonly controlled entities as a single entity for pension calculation purposes. In general, common controls are defined as 80% ownership.

A: Maybe. Normally, a writer is never allowed to make contributions on his/her own behalf. A 10% Owner is a writer who directly or indirectly owns (or is related to an owner of) 10% or more of the reporting signatory company or is an officer, board member, director, relative of (or serves in another similar capacity for a non-profit or for-profit entity), who wishes to make contributions on their own behalf.

If you have unrelated third party financing, certain pieces of contractual documentation must be provided to the Funds before contributions will be accepted. The documentation that may be requested includes, but is not limited to:

  • Proof of unrelated outside financing (check copies, wire transfers, bank statements)
  • License Agreement between signatory and financier (license agreement should contain an allocation for the writing services)
  • Employment contract between signatory and writer
  • Budget (with allocation for writing services and contributions)
  • Evidence of payment to the writer (copy of cancelled check, wire transfer, bank statements)
  • Scripts of other literary material

If there is no unrelated third party financing, contributions will not be accepted under any circumstances.

The Funds will review all the documentation submitted and, after resolving open items, questions, or additional required documentation, will make a determination to accept or refund the contributions. 10% Owners should submit the all the documentation prior to or before the end of the project, if possible, to expedite the review. If the documents are not submitted, the Funds cannot accept the contributions.

Please refer to the Owner/Writer section of this website, or call the Employer Compliance Department at (818) 846-1015, press "3", then "1". These rules are complex so please call the Employer Compliance Department as soon as you think you may work on this type of project.

If owner/writers cannot provide the appropriate documentation, your contributions will be returned.

A: This rule applies to a 10% New Media owner/writer who owns (or is related to an owner of) 10% or more of the reporting signatory company or is an officer, board member, director (or serves in another similar capacity for a non-profit or for-profit entity) who does not receive any outside financing and is fully self-funded.

If the owner/writer does not receive any outside financing and is fully self-funded, contributions on the owner/writer's compensation will count towards the owner/writer's eligibility for benefits when there is a legitimate project produced and distributed. Contributions are payable upon first receipt of revenues and are deemed earned and due at that time.

The 10% New Media owner/writer can still remit contributions on behalf of other writers who are not owners.

A: Yes, if you can submit a copy of the contract, fronts and backs of cancelled checks paid to the writer and a copy of the script. Please contact Employer Compliance at (818) 846-1015, press "3", then "1" for more information.

A: Send a copy of the writer's contract and evidence of payment. Employer Compliance will review and issue a refund if appropriate.

A: If over or misreported earnings gave a writer eligibility for benefits for which he/she was not qualified, you will receive a bill for expenditures made by the Health Fund on behalf of the writer for the erroneous period of coverage. This applies also to the Pension Plan.

A: Send a copy of the writer's contract, payment information, and any documentation which supports moving the earnings to a different time period. If a writer is paid the last week of a quarter, the earnings may not appear until the next quarter. Many paystubs show earned and pay dates and will help determine the correct reporting period. Earnings may not be moved solely for the purpose of qualifying a writer for benefits.

A: No. Contributions can only be made on covered earnings specified in the writer's contract.

A: When a company signs a collective bargaining agreement, they agree to be audited and to cooperate with the audit process. The Funds are required under federal law to have a comprehensive and effective audit program. Employers are usually audited on a random basis; however, major studios and large employers are regularly audited.

The documentation that will be requested by the auditors includes, but is not limited to:

  • Complete list of projects in development or production.
  • Copy of chart of accounts.
  • Copy of general ledgers with detail of writing fees.
  • Copies of contracts for writing services and option/purchase agreements.
  • Copies of option/purchase contracts with "professional writers" for the acquisition of literary material.

If an employer fails, upon request, to provide its books and records to the Funds (or their representatives) for an audit, the Funds may sue the employer for Audit Entry in order to obtain an injunction to permit the audit to take place. The Funds are entitled to recover all costs incurred in relation to this action, including their attorney fees. Employer cooperation is greatly appreciated.

A: That depends on the size of the company, how quickly requested information is provided to the auditors and how quickly requests for additional information or clarifications are provided. The Funds are required to perform this function and will complete our procedures as soon as possible.

A: Audit Costs are an amount charged to a signatory employer if the ratio of delinquent contributions reported during the period audited, expressed as a percentage, is 10% or more. Audit Costs will also be assessed if an employer knowingly reports on compensation that is not subject to contributions for the purpose of securing Health Fund coverage or Pension Plan benefits. Audit costs are the expenditures incurred in performing the audit.

A: If you under reported contributions you will receive a bill for the contributions, interest and any fees incurred. If you over reported, causing a writer to receive benefits to which they were not entitled, you will receive a refund less any amounts that were overpaid on behalf of the writer during the rescinded period. If you are in compliance, you will receive a letter closing the audit and thanking you for your cooperation.

A: Contact the Writers Guild East or West, depending on where you signed your collective bargaining agreement.

Revised 5/2/14