Read about Harsh Reality

Los Angeles Times,
Study Cites Reality TV Pay Issues

Los Angeles Times,
Working for Reality? Sorry

It Is a Harsh Reality

A study commissioned by the WGAW showed that nearly all reality television writers are misclassified as exempt employees and overwhelmingly work long hours without receiving overtime pay, health insurance and other benefits.

Harsh Reality - Working Conditions for Reality TV Writers, found that reality television producers routinely violate California wage and hour laws by denying overtime and meal breaks, and failing to maintain accurate records for the writers who work on their shows. Conducted by the independent firm Goodwin Simon Victoria Research, the survey of over 300 reality TV writers found that reality production companies and payroll companies routinely and improperly classified writers as exempt from state and federal overtime pay requirements, depriving them of at least $30 million a year in lost income.

The total overtime liability for employers could reach almost $100 million. Such liability is likely to be the shared responsibility of multiple entities - production companies, networks and payroll companies - which may be deemed to be 'joint employers' under applicable wage and hour standards

Most reality TV writers do not meet the requirements of the salary or job duty tests to be classified as exempt salaried employees and should be instead classified as non-exempt hourly employees entitled to overtime pay.

“This study calls attention to some of the most disturbing information about entertainment industry employments practices I've ever seen,” commented WGAW President Patric M. Verrone. “It clearly demonstrates the gigantic problems in reality TV production and the magnitude of the liability faced by the companies. The WGAW is committed to changing the working conditions in reality TV.”