As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the WGAW recognizes that members may experience disruptions to their work, family lives, and financial security. Your union has compiled the following resources to help writers weather the uncertainty of this crisis. We will update this list as new information emerges.
- WGAW Legal Services
Legally, all employers have an obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Guild staff are available to advise and represent writers who have questions about workplace safety, or about contractual or employment rights in these extraordinary circumstances. If necessary, Guild lawyers, business representatives and other staff are available to help provide advice and advocacy for you. If you have questions, please call Latifah Salom at (323) 782-4521 or email Legal.
- The Writers’ Guild Industry Health Fund
If participants in the Health Plan, or their dependents, need to get screened or tested for COVID-19, the Health Plan will cover 100% of cost-sharing (including deductible and co-insurance) for both in-network and out-of-network tests and screening. Please note that treatment of COVID-19 illnesses will be covered under Plan Rules as usual with cost-sharing in effect. See the Plan’s statement on this change to benefits.
Telemedicine: Guild members may video chat with a doctor online with LiveHealth Online, a service of Anthem Blue Cross. Both physical and mental health resources are available. You just need a phone, tablet or computer equipped with video and an Internet connection. Learn more here.
If you are concerned about health plan eligibility, please contact the Health Fund at (818) 846-1015. Staff are working remotely and answering calls between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time. You can also check the Fund website. In addition, the Fund website also offers information about extended health coverage options, including the Extended Coverage Program and COBRA. Learn more here. In addition, Covered California is offering a special enrollment period due to COVID-19. Learn more here.
- Employment and Benefit Questions
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the WGAW is here to assist members with employment- and benefit-related issues arising from this global health crisis. Here are some answers to frequently asked COVID-19 employment and benefit questions.
- WGAW Showrunner Statement
Guild showrunners signed a collective statement expressing their commitment to protecting the health and interests of writers, as studios develop protocols for resuming production.
If you are a showrunner, email Showrunner to add your name to the statement.
- State and Federal Benefits
Wondering how the federal legislation passed in response to COVID-19 could affect you? Read here to learn about the new federal unemployment benefits for those who have been laid off or placed on hiatus and newly-enacted emergency family and medical leave and sick leave benefits for those who have been forced to leave their jobs. In addition, there is information about small business grants that may be available to some loanout companies.
- California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA)
The LDWA has created guidance outlining some of the protections and assistance employees may need in response to COVID-19. Topics include: paid sick leave, disability and unemployment insurance, paid family leave, workplace health and safety, tips for staying healthy, and resources from the CA Department of Public Health. View the guidance here.
- The Actors Fund
The Actors Fund offers a range of financial, disability, and healthcare services to the broader entertainment industry. Those interested in receiving support from the Actors Fund should note that, for the coming weeks, its Los Angeles, New York and Chicago offices will temporarily transition in-person program offerings to online and phone meetings only.
- Motion Picture Television Fund
The Motion Picture Television Fund is here to help those members of our industry workforce who are undergoing hardship due to COVID-19 related issues—thanks to the generosity of our community. Call the intake line at (323) 634-3888.
- The WGAW Good and Welfare Emergency Assistance Fund
The WGAW Good and Welfare Emergency Assistance Fund provides temporary emergency financial assistance to Current or Post-Current members experiencing acute financial distress. The program is administered through the Motion Picture & Television Fund, which can provide counseling, including specialized health insurance counseling for California residents, and additional referrals as needed.
- Pen America Writers’ Emergency Fund
PEN America, an organization of writers and their allies, has expanded their Writers’ Emergency Fund. This fund is intended to assist writers, including screenwriters. Pen America will distribute grants of $500 to $1,000 based on applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of COVID-19.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Though much is still unknown about the virus, there is some understanding of best practices for limiting it’s spread. Visit the CDC website for information on how the virus spreads, symptoms to look out for, what to do in the case of infection, and other frequently asked questions.
- OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance to assist employers in providing a safe and healthy workplace. Based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices, it focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment, as well as considerations for doing so. Read the guidance here.
- Teleworking Tools
Consistent with public health recommendations, we recommend writers work from home if possible. If you are a supervisor, contact your studio for guidance. The following tools may be useful to writers’ rooms and teams looking to work remotely. See also our best practices for running remote writers’ rooms.
For room discussions & meetings:
For boarding & notes:
For live texting: