Lou Ferrigno as “The Incredible Hulk”, copyright Universal Television

Did you know that a meal allowance is not the same as per diem? Keep reading to make sure you aren’t getting short changed when it comes to meals.

This is a series of weekly posts by Gregg and Shirley Smrz of Stunt Payroll Services discussing areas of the rulebook and stunt contracts that stunt performers deal with, along with tips on how to keep your records so you get paid properly. Gregg Smrz is a member of Stunts Unlimited, the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the Red Bull Blue Ribbon Committee, and is an alternate board member for the SAG-AFTRA Stunt and Safety Committee. He has experience working as a Stuntman, Stunt Rigger, Stunt Coordinator, and as a 2nd Unit Director. Gregg’s wife Shirley has extensive Bookkeeping and Payroll Experience she acquired while working at Teledyne Electronics.

The Meal Period Rules can be found in the following areas of the 2005 SAG Codified Basic Agreement. The rule is the same for all Schedules

Schedule A, Page 194, Section 13

Schedule B, Page 254,Section 17

Schedule C, Page 313,Section 17

Meal Periods

Stunt Gear

SAG Rulebook

A. Allowable meal periods shall not be counted as work time for any purpose. A meal penalty shall not be less than one-half (1/2) hour nor more than one (1) hour in length. The performers first meal period shall commence within six (6) hours following the time of first call for the day; succeeding meal penalties of the same performer shall commence within six (6) hours after the end of the preceding meal period. There will be a twelve (12) minute grace period, which is not to be a scheduled grace period, prior to imposition of any meal penalty, provided that the six (6) hour period between meals has not been extended as permitted by the following sentence. If, upon the expiration of such six (6) hour period, the camera is in the actual course of photography, it shall not be a violation to complete such photography. If, on location or while traveling to or from location, the delay is not due to any fault or negligence of the Producer or its agents or persons employed by it to render the catering service by contract, or if delay is caused by common carriers such as railroads, there shall be no penalty for violation of the above provisions. If the caterer is chosen carefully, and is delayed in reaching the location beyond the required time for commencing a meal period, there shall be no penalty for the violation; but if such delay shall continue beyond one-half (1/2) hour, work shall cease, and the time intervening between such cessation of work and the meal period shall be work time.

The performer shall be entitled to a non-deductible meal appropriate to the time of day of fifteen (15) minutes in duration within two (2) hours of the performers call time, during which performer will be freed of all activity. If the performer is given a non-deductible meal, a notation indicating the start and finish time of that meal shall be made on the production report. The first deductible meal period shall commence within six (6) hours of the end of such non-deductible meal.

If by reason of a long make-up, wardrobe or hairdress period of a performer, application of the rule would require calling a meal period for such performer at a time earlier than that required for the rest of the set, Producer shall not be required to call such meal period if food, such as coffee and sandwiches, is made available to such performer before the time for his set call, it being understood that no deduction shall be made from work time for such period; it is further understood, however, that such performer shall be given a meal period within six (6) hours from the time such food is made available to the performer.

Outside the studio, when the crew is provided a meal or a meal allowance (as distinguished from per diem or penalty), the performers (other than those receiving a per diem allowance for meals on overnight locations) will be provided either a meal or a meal allowance when they have satisfied the same terms and conditions for entitlement to such meal or meal allowance as the crew.

B.  The following amounts shall be paid to performers for meal period violations:

(1) For the first one-half (1/2) hour Or fraction thereof: $25.00 per performer

(2) For the second one-half (1/2) hour Or fraction thereof: $35.00 per performer

(3) For the third one-half (1/2) hour and each additional one-half (1/2) hour or fraction thereof: $50.00 per performer

Layman’s Term Explanation

Duration of Meal Period: A meal period can be a minimum of one-half (½) hour, or a maximum of one (1) hour in length.

Time of First Meal: Your first meal must be within six (6) hours of your call.

• In Town weeklies – This would be from your call time.

• Location weeklies – This would be from your leave time from your place of lodging.

Non-Descript Meal (NDB):  You may be given a 15 minute Non Deductible Meal (NDB) within two hours of your call. It must be an uninterrupted 15 minute sit down meal. Grabbing a breakfast sandwich and going to set does not count as an NDB. The end of the 15 minute sit down NDB resets the 6 hour clock.

Grace: The First AD can call Grace, which is a twelve (12) minute extension of the six (6) hour rule, provided, the camera is rolling at the time the six (6) hour meal period is due. The camera cannot be ready to roll, and it cannot be moved, nor a lens changed. It must actually be rolling prior to the commencement of the meal period violation.

Makeup / Wardrobe / Hairdress: If you are brought in earlier than the rest of the crew to go through an extensive prosthetic makeup process, an extensive bald cap or hair process, or an extensive wardrobe procedure such as a creature suit, and you are offered coffee and sandwiches prior to being brought to set, this will reset the clock for the six (6) hour rule from that point at which the meal is provided.

Outside The Studio Zone: When outside the studio zone, you will either be provided a meal, or a meal allowance.

If you want to be sure all the rules are followed and that you have been paid properly, check out our website at www.stuntpay.com and consider using the service on your next job.