We're often asked the difference between employee and freelance stagehands. It's curious how many stagehand's don't understand the basic pros and cons of taking on a job(s) that impact how they may be classified. Frankly, there can be a number of subtle or intrinsic benefits (or challenges) associated with every classification. We've listed and detailed some of the basics below, and we welcome your thoughts and opinions.
We've narrowed down the broad range of classification to 4 basic categories:
1. Union Member, Temporary Employees
2. Non-Union, Regular Employees
3. Freelance Independent Contractors
There are a number of subgroups under these three categories, such as Permalancers, Contract Employees, Seasonal Employees, Part-Time, Full-Time, etc. Of course there are variations and exceptions to many situations, but for the most part, they all fall into these three basic categories and the pros & cons are the most common for that group.
Union Member, Temporary Employees
Union Stagehands are often grouped into Card Holders and Permit Workers or Over-Hires. They are not necessarily considered employees of the union, but moreso, they are temporary employees of production house, theatre, payroll agency or other such company authorized to hire them under the union's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Non-Union, Regular Employees
These are full-time or part-time, regular or season employees hired by production companies, gear houses, scenic shops, theaters, stadiums and other live event venues where you'd find stagehands on regular staff.
Freelance Independent Contractors
Freelancers can most accurately be described as small business owner/operators. They are small, one-person shops that solicit, perform, and close out each job. Being a small business comes with a number of responsibilities, but also has it's benefits. Among the most important benefits, besides tax and income flexibility, is the right to refuse or accept jobs and to control your own calendar.
To be continued...