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 additional benefits. Join BECTU
Membership also 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. The service also includes a range of discounts, including on selected Apple products and from May 2017 VW Vans purchased through the Cordwallis Group. 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're a freelancer. Alternatively, download or request the appropriate application form.
BFI Members are at the front of the queue for the hottest film tickets in London, and enjoy a great package of other film benefits. Find full details at www.bfi.org.uk/join.
BECTU members should login here for the BFI discount code to save £5 on payments by direct debit (£35 instead of £40).
The BFI Reuben Library offers free access at the BFI Southbank. Find full details here.
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 £30 (1 May 2016 - 30 April 2017) for the whole or part year. The fee rises to £31 from 1 May 2017 - 30 April 2018. More information about the terms of the cover is available here.
Insurance for freelancers/small businesses
Members are also encouraged to contact Hencilla Canworth Ltd, (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 686 5050) the union's specialist broker, for information on additional cover for freelancers/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:
Crewbus is BECTU's online directory for freelance members; the directory had two sections, one for film and television, the other for theatre and live events. Freelance members will be routed to one of the two sections depending on their branch membership. Employers can search for crew and save their searches.
Early Bird is a free monthly listing of upcoming productions produced for freelance members. 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 (free service applies to first will only).
- Access to Thompsons National Criminal Law Unit for members and their families.
Members working in make-up, wigs and hair, costume or as background artistes can now apply for MAC's professional members' scheme MAC Pro. Members should complete this revised application form to benefit from two years' free membership (either on registration or renewal). Members should be ready to upload their membership information. Use this email address for help with any queries.
BECTU's customised stakeholder pension provided by Aviva is now closed to new members. 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. Current members who would like more information about the 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 organising official Teresa Debrou, 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. Please note that passes can take two weeks to process once the application is submitted.
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. Tel: 0207 710 9494.
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 the BECTU Sector of Prospect in accordance with decisions of the National Executive Committee and/or the BECTU Sector 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 10 March 2017.