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Daily Overtime vs. Weekly Overtime: Why Perception isn’t always Reality
Time to unpack if daily overtime is better or worse in the events industry.
Change is uncomfortable. Even changes for the better. In the live events industry, in particular, there are a number of advancements that can only be positive. But I am not exactly surprised to observe young, talented professionals coming across misinformation and misconceptions as well. I work with people operating with the wrong data (thereby drawing wrong assumptions) on a daily basis.
The gap between perception and reality is ever-widening, and this is the best time to discuss working overtime in live events: is daily necessarily better than weekly?
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How event companies are investing in their crew
It's our responsibility to provide clarity on the often-confusing ways of live events. We hear about the shortage of real talent from various quarters, and companies are doing their best to retain the amazing people they already work with and attract skilled pros who might be good for them.
Organizations are investing in training their crew, paying them more often, giving them the equipment they need to perform better at event sites, and giving them more remuneration than they used to. Some are also supporting their crew in newer and more innovative ways: they're investing in their 401k and providing financial/budgeting counsel.
But, as with any other massive industry, it is difficult to have standardized measures for a number of things. Payrolls, for instance, will always vary across companies.
I know tradition has value, but I also believe in progress. The events industry might be set in certain ways but 'it's always been like this’ doesn't guarantee that it is the right way. No organization had invested in 401k before, but they changed their way of looking at it.
Perhaps we should try and change the way we think of how overtime is calculated and paid. I know companies that support paying overtime weekly, and I also know companies that pay daily overtime. 'Overtime after 10' is the norm, and union contracts have been dictating these figures.
How did misclassification affect the event industry?
But the AB5 misclassification forced many companies out of business because of the penalties they had to bear. To return to my original point, daily overtime after 10 used to be the rule in California. But it's 8 hours in a day, and workers enjoy getting paid overtime after 8 all over. (We do not see anyone complaining about how we should only receive overtime after 10, not 8!) Similarly, it's also now an industry standard for safety protocols to be followed. That was not always the case.
When we speak about daily vs weekly overtime, perceptions override reality. Let me quickly share a personal story about this. One of our crew worked over 10 hours on one day in the run of a show, and he didn't get daily overtime. He reached out to us, upset and curious. And I completely empathize with the situation he might have been faced with. My colleague said that it was an industry standard and he expected to get daily overtime. And this is a standard many of us are used to.
Is daily overtime necessarily better?
Related to this is the assumption that you get less money if you're paid weekly overtime instead of daily. I have two responses to that idea. Firstly, that can sometimes be true and sometimes it isn't. And like anyone new to the industry has to learn at some point, it depends.
My colleague thought he was losing pay by not being paid daily overtime but he actually made $10 more per hour than any other company that he's ever worked with before. When I looked at his actual compensation, I found he actually made almost $1,700 more without getting any daily overtime because he was making $10 more an hour on all hours up to 10 and still got overtime after 40.
But you don’t want something from them; you want something for them. I was open to discussing the issue. I offered to pay him his standard pay rate (instead of $10 more) along with daily overtime, but he refused. He wanted to stick to the amount he was currently making. No matter how strongly he believed he lost money, the reality was he made a lot more.
W-2 or 1099 misconceptions
Facts make all the difference in the world. Some people think they’ll make more as a 1099.
That is absolutely wrong. You’re now responsible for your worker’s compensation and you have to pay double the taxes. Even if you’ve worked as a 1099 your whole career, it is unlikely to make a difference. You think you'll make more being paid at your regular rate with daily overtime, but you aren't guaranteed long days. But you are guaranteed your hourly rate.
No matter how a part of a picture looks to you (who’s standing at a certain angle), the whole picture is almost always very different from that part. We don’t always have to have 100% knowledge of everything that’s going on (neither is that plausible), but it helps to have an open mind.
Progress is inevitable, and clinging to old ways of business leaves us at a huge disadvantage. We cannot control the way a certain industry changes, but there’s one thing we’re always free to change ourselves: our attitude.
Find out how much money you could be leaving on the table as a 1099 vs W-2. 🔍
💡 This tool is meant to give you an idea of what you can expect, but it doesn’t take into account state-specific variables that can change the amount of your return.