The Equity Bond is one of the Union's cornerstone provisions to protect its members. It has been in place in Equity's contracts for decades, and has been used on numerous occasions to rescue members from defaulting producers or theatres.
Almost all producers are required to post a bond with Equity. This bond ensures that if an employer defaults in their obligations to Equity, our members will receive the minimum salary, pension and health credits guaranteed by the agreement (generally two weeks' contractual salary and benefits).
Signed copies of contract for all Equity members must be filed with Equity no later than first rehearsal. This helps the Union to ensure that your production is properly bonded. Filing contracts in a timely manner takes on even greater significance since Equity has introduced electronic employment contracts, which may be released to producers via e-mail after a bond is secured.
Here's how it works: The amount of the bond is determined by whether the employer is a "single-unit" producer or a seasonal theatre.
Only individual productions are fully protected by a bond – to the extent contracts have been filed with Equity. A single unit production is one that is individually produced (whether by one or more producers) that is not part of a regular season of plays presented by a specific theatre. Production Contract, Cabaret, HAT, BAT, Off Broadway and Mini-Contract shows are examples of single unit productions.
Seasonal theatres post a bond for the largest number of active contracts in a two-week period. Seasonal theatres include all Stock, LORT, Dinner Theatres, Letters of Agreement and Small Professional Theatres.
When Equity receives more contracts than are protected by the bond, the Union requires additional bond monies be immediately posted (except in circumstances where the season is too limited and the run of the shows too short for this to be administratively possible). Should the producer fail to increase the bond, the member will have the option of canceling the contract without any further obligation to the employer. Therefore, filing your contract may make the difference in Equity's ability to obtain a bond increase that will protect your contractual guarantees.
If a seasonal theatre defaults, our members may receive only the portion of the contract guarantee that is available in the bond. Equity will not make up any difference, but will pursue the defaulting employer in an effort to secure the full obligation due to the members.
Union funds will not be used to make up any bond shortage except in extraordinary circumstances or cases of staff negligence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Almost all producers are required to post a bond with Equity, covering the minimum salary, pension and health payments guaranteed by the agreement. The bond ensures that if an employer defaults in his obligations to Equity, you will be paid. However, your guarantee is contingent upon the proper filing of your contract.
You need to provide us with your Federal ID number, your Unemployment number, your Workers' Compensation carrier and all information that appears on the Producers' Questionnaire that you have provided your business rep.
You can receive your bond back generally 30 days after the closing of a show provided that Equity has received a closing notice and there are no claims against the bond.