Better conditions at work and better benefits.
BECTU members enjoy a range of benefits and services in addition to all-important support in the workplace.Legal services and low-cost insurances are amongst the most valued benefits. Join BECTU
Membership provides access to BECTU Plus, a package of tailored discounts on products and services of value to members at work, home and leisure.
Guaranteed price promises on services including gym membership, airport parking, car insurance, books and tax returns, make the offer a must-see. Members should log in to access the BECTU Plus page (left) for more details. Contact us if you have a log-in query.
Established benefits and services
BECTU Plus sits alongside core additional benefits which are summarised below. (The latest version of the Benefits and Services booklet is available to download from this page). Members who need to access the available services should log in and visit the pages highlighted left for more information.
How to become a BECTU member? Join online if you are freelance. Alternatively, download or request the appropriate application form.
BFI Members are at the front of the queue for the hottest film tickets in London, enjoy exclusive access to members' events as well as a great package of discounts. Find full details at www.bfi.org.uk/join.
BECTU members can enjoy these benefits for only £35 (usual price £40) when they join at BFI Southbank or by calling 020 7928 3232 (11:30-20:30) quoting 'BECTU'. Members can continue to save £5 annually if renewal is done by direct debit.
The new BFI Library opened with free access at BFI Southbank in June 2012. Find full details at www.bfi.org.uk/library
BECTU has special arrangements with collecting societies which collect and distribute monies to members for secondary uses of work. This applies to directors (via Directors UK) and to designers, animators and visual artists (via DACS). Screen Craft Rights represents the interests of rightholders in BECTU grades in Europe. Screen Craft Rights distributed funds for the first time in November 2011; to date (May 2013) it has agreements with collecting societies in Germany and Finland.
BECTU's experienced copyright consultant can provide quick, free and common sense advice to members. BECTU can also provide initial legal advice and representation on copyright matters.
The next of kin of members with at least five years' continuous service, and who are members at the time of their passing, are entitled to claim a death benefit from BECTU.
- Benevolent Fund which provides the possibility of grants to members in financial difficulty.
- See sections on Pensions and Tax and National Insurance.
Hearing healthcare discounts with Harley Street Hearing. Their audiologists offer advice and support on a range of hearing issues including hearing conservation. They also provide a hearing therapy service for those living with tinnitus.
£10M public liability insurance
BECTU offers its freelance members access to a group policy which runs from 1 May - 30 April each year. Cover is available to members up to date with their subscriptions for £21 for the whole or part of the policy period. More information about the terms of the cover is available here.
Insurance for freelances/small businesses
Members are also encouraged to contact Hencilla Canworth Ltd, (email email@example.com or call 0208 686 5050) the union's specialist broker, for information on additional cover for freelances/small businesses. Media Freelance Insurance starts with kit cover and can be extended to include employers' liability (compulsory if members employ other people), public and product liability, buildings and professional indemnity insurance.
BECTU does not find work for members, however the following assistance is available:
ProductionBase also sponsors our Freelancers' Fair. Pic: Rod Leon
ProductionBase is a leading industry network which provides a reputable job-finding service. Leading production companies and broadcasters regularly search PB’s extensive database of freelancers and/or post positions directly onto their jobs board. Members can upload up to 4 hours of video, stills and audio to help showcase their credits and create an external webpage to further maximise their profile to potential employers.
PB undertakes a number of networking events around the country featuring top industry speakers plus career advice and workshops. ProductionBase also helps to promote good industry practices and encourages employers to adhere to BECTU’s guideline pay rates for freelancers. BECTU members can join at a 25% discounted rate. BECTU members should login to view the Members Discount page to access the PB promo code.
Crewbus is BECTU's online directory for freelance members in film, television, theatre and live events. Employers can search for crew and save their searches. BECTU will be actively promoting Crewbus to all its employers/employer groups.
Early Bird is a free listing of upcoming productions produced for freelance members. During the first half of 2014, Early Bird will be published on a monthly basis (the listing is usually published once every two months). The listing covers independent productions and feature films. Registered members receive an email alert when the latest issue is published on this site.
Stage Jobs Pro is an online networking and recruitment site for theatre professionals, with 30,000+ freelancers and 3,000+ theatre companies sourcing staff and crew.
Stage Jobs Pro is "the UK's No 1 theatre jobs and networking site with 30,000+ freelances and 3000+ theatre companies sourcing staff and crew. Stage Jobs Pro caters for those working in all fields of theatre - including stage management, technicians, set design, costume, lighting and sound. Members can apply for the 3000+ theatre jobs across the UK and abroad which are posted each year, create an interactive online CV and network with other professionals.
Stage Jobs Pro offers a 25% discount on their monthly and annual premium membership to BECTU members. BECTU members should login and select the Member Discounts page (find the link on the left hand menu) for more details.
Thompsons Solicitors only act for union members.
Employment matters: comprehensive service on all legal matters arising from employment including breach of contract, discrimination, unfair dismissal, equal pay, working time, monies owed, and redundancy. Advice and, where appropriate, full representation in legal proceedings.
Personal injury: BECTU members have cover for any accidents whether at or away from work; for members' families our service covers any accident away from work. Thompsons, the union's lawyers will assess possible legal cases and, wherever there is a reasonable prospect, pursue proceedings for compensation. This is a free service and unlike 'no win, no fee' arrangements, no legal fees are charged to members. The service also includes injuries sustained prior to joining BECTU, and accidents abroad as long as it is possible to sue in the UK.
Thompsons Solicitors also sponsors our Freelancers' Fair. Pic: Rod Leon
Other legal services include:
- 24 hour/365 day legal helpline. Offers free initial legal advice on all non-employment legal matters.
- Contract advice which is particularly suitable for freelance and casual workers.
- Free will-making service
- Access to Thompsons National Criminal Law Unit for members and their families.
BECTU has its own customised stakeholder pension provided by Aviva and monitored independently by BECTU and its financial advisers. This scheme is used by individual members, and particularly where their employer does not provide either a defined benefit (final salary) or a defined contribution scheme. Freelance members have also found the scheme beneficial.
More than 100 companies have chosen our scheme to provide for their workers; in some cases BECTU has been able to negotiate an employer's contribution to the individual's stakeholder plan.
Members who would like more information about BECTU's stakeholder scheme should contact Berkeley Burke or telephone 0845 634 2010.
Members who have to identify themselves regularly (eg when working in public places with special emphasis on newsgathering and current affairs coverage) can apply via BECTU for a press pass issued by the UK Press Card Authority. This service is only available to BECTU members. Contact Nancy Ackah, quoting your membership number, for more information. The pass, which is recognised by the Association of Chief Police Officers, is valid for two years and is renewable.
This provides an independent, dated registration of members' works which could be useful evidence in discussions or disputes about rights. More information here.
BECTU's Tax Guide for Freelances explains Schedule D and PAYE tax status. It includes the list of occupations accepted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs as qualifying for Schedule D treatment.
BECTU has long and detailed experience of freelance tax issues. The union cannot act as accountants but has a track record of discussions and negotiation with HMRC on Schedule D and National Insurance status.
Members have access to the union's tax consultant on detailed and technical taxation issues, including tax status, allowances, working abroad and VAT.
The products and services available through BECTU Plus are arranged and managed by Parliament Hill Ltd, Floor 3, 127 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6BT.
The benefits and services summarised above are arranged by BECTU; full details of each service are available separately. Some services and products are only available to UK residents and/or to those aged 18 years or over, and some of these may not be available in all areas of the UK. Benefits and services are subject to change at the sole discretion of BECTU in accordance with decisions of the National Executive Committee and/or the BECTU Rulebook. While every care has been taken in the preparation of the above information, BECTU cannot accept liability for mistakes or any arising consequences. Last page update 29 January 2014.