About the NMW law: Should actors be paid for learning lines?

Um… maybe.  According to the law, perhaps.  But custom and practice certainly don’t point that way.  I’m not taking a position on this, just pointing out that this may actually be an application of the law.

First, let’s put this into historical perspective.  Before British Actors Equity was formed, actors were not even paid for rehearsal. Now that seems normal and entirely appropriate. Rehearsal pay probably seemed like a radical idea at the time, as laughable as pay for learning lines does now.  However, the NMW law is intended to be applied to all workers and all work. The provision in the legislation which might apply is called unmeasured work.

If you are working but do not think you are doing time work, salaried hours work or output work – then you are probably doing unmeasured work.

‘Unmeasured work is where you have tasks to do but your employer doesn’t set the times when you have to do them, or requires you to carry out work as needed or when it is available.’

‘Even with unmeasured work almost all workers are still entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW).’

How does that work? Follow this link to the DIRECTGOV website.

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