Citing ‘Tragic’ Impact, Industry Orgs Urge Trump to Revise CARES Act

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Carolyn Giardina on August 18, 2020.

SAG-AFTRA, [the IATSE,] The Recording Academy and 9 additional entertainment industry organizations on Tuesday sent a letter to President Trump asking for his administration’s help to reform the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program in regards to mixed earner workers, saying that the situation is having “tragic” consequences.

“Workers who are ‘mixed earners’ are currently not receiving fair unemployment benefits based on their actual income,” the letter contends, saying that these earners include musicians, singers, actors, photographers, and writers who make a mix of traditional W-2 employee and self-employment income. “Due to an unintended flaw in the CARES Act, mixed earners are often only receiving unemployment benefits of less than $100 a week — which may be only 3-10 percent of their actual pre-COVID income.”

If revised, the letter asserts, many of these workers would qualify for “maximum” benefits. “If an unemployed American is eligible for traditional state unemployment, no matter how small the benefit, they are automatically disqualified from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for entrepreneurs and gig workers,” according to the letter. “The mixed earner’s self-employment income, which may be the majority of their income, is thus not considered and, as a result, their base benefit amount can be as low as $5 a week.” …

THR 8/18

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at