The first order of business is to thumb through this booklet. ...
Inside you will find information about:
How long Motion Picture Industry health benefits will last.
Generally six to fifteen months beyond layoff, but you'll need to check with the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan -- 855-275-4674.
Dismissal Pay from your studio.
Employees who work on cable or network shows*, or theatrical motion pictures are entitled to 1 to 2 weeks of additional pay 110 days after layoff. Employees who work 6-12 months receive one week's pay, employees who work more than twelve months receive two weeks' pay. They must be laid off and not recalled for 110 days before they're eligible for payment. (If they turn down work from the studio before the 110 days run out, they waive the right to Dismissal Pay).
Tapping into 401(k) accounts if things get tight.
This is doable, but understand that if you're under 59 1/2 years of age, the withdrawn cash will be subject to both income tax and a 12 1/2% excise tax. (If you're over 59 1/2, you can withdraw as much money as you like without any excise tax penalty). Members can also take a personal loan out from their account for up to 50% of assets.
Non-payment of dues when not working. Members who are current in their dues and aren't working under a TAG contract can request going on Honorable Withdrawal by letter or e-mail to the Guild office. No further dues will need to be paid until a member resumes working at a Guild studio.
(If a member is not current in their dues or hasn't paid off initiaion fees, they can ask to go on suspension. This will entail an additional $25 reinstatement fee down the road, but will stop any further dues obligation until they return to work). Dues are NOT connected to the receipt of health coverage. The two are separate.
When members are laid off, one of the first things on their minds is: "How do I find my next gig??" The first order of business is networking with friends and professional acquaintances. They're generally the best source for employment info.
Members should also be plugged into the Guild's private Facebook page available to Guild members. There they can contact other members and/or share job information.
Almost everyone hits rough patches in her/his career. The main way Guild members stay employed long-term is:
1) Keeping their skills sharp and current. (Refresher courses and continuous training work wonders).
2) Being professional on the job. (Showing up on time, putting in a full day's work, playing well with co-workers).
3) Having more than one or two arrows in your quiver. (The more jobs you can do, the more employable you are).
4) Always having a "Plan A", "Plan B", and a "Plan C". Because often more than a single plan is necessary.