Equity Codes (sometimes called "guidelines" or "rules") are never negotiated with employers as contracts or agreements. Rather, they are internal Equity membership rules that outline the specific circumstances in which a member may work without the benefit of a contract. Equity grants very limited exceptions to the rule that Equity members may not work without a contract, and members who have questions about whether they may participate in a project should contact their nearest Equity office to verify that they may perform without a contract.
Unlike standard Equity contracts, Equity codes are designed primarily to provide a theatrical environment where members may hone their skills and “showcase” themselves in the hope of securing future employment. There is no minimum salary, there is no obligation to remain in a production and none of the regular benefits or protections of standard agreements apply. Actors who are participating in projects that do not meet the criteria established in the applicable code, guideline or rule, must discontinue their participation and notify the nearest Equity office immediately.