Working Time at core of new UK TV Drama Agreement

30 January 2023

Since 1st of January, Bectu members are working under new TV drama agreement. After a year of intense negotiations between Bectu and Pact, the trade body representing UK’s independent production and distribution companies, better working conditions including shorter working hours are now applying to all TV drama productions.


New TV drama agreement delivers improved terms and conditions

The new TV Drama Agreement provides improved terms and conditions, better working practices, and increased compensation for workers in UK independent scripted TV drama productions. However, Bectu recognizes that there is still further progress to be made in addressing key issues that impact members’ lives, and the union  will continue to work towards improving work-life balance and changing the damaging long hours culture in the industry.


Philippa Childs, Head of BECTU and UNI MEI Vice President said:

“We are confident this new agreement will provide a firm basis from which to move forward and we will maintain our commitment to improving work/life balance and changing the damaging long hours culture.   


“We will be monitoring the new agreement’s implementation closely and will continue to work with the UK’s world-class film and TV industry to advance work-life balance for freelancers in the sector and achieve a more sustainable industry for all.” 


Major changes impove work-life balance 

The agreement reduces the daily working time and provides for better arrangements with respect to work on weekends and night work. The agreement also provides for increased penalties for overtime aiming to disincentive the recurrent practice of long working hours.  

Shooting hours

    • Scheduled days can only be 10+1 – 10 hours worked plus 1 unpaid hour for lunch (11+1 days have been eliminated in TV Drama)
    • Sixth shooting days paid at 1.5T and non-shooting sixth days paid at a minimum of 10 hours for 6 hours worked or 1.5T if over 6 hours (2017 had no additional payment for sixth consecutive days)
    • A cap on split days for schedules over 7 weeks

Weekends, early calls and nightwork  

    • Workers will be given two weeks’ notice for weekend working  
    • Nightwork is now shooting hours from 11pm (rather than midnight) and compensated weekly instead of after the run of nights   
    • Dailies receive a rest day after night work 
    • Cancellation for dailies now from 1pm instead of 3pm

Overtime, mileage and other allowances 

    • Overtime cap has been increased to £70 per hour from £45  
    • Mileage is paid after 25 miles (30 miles in 2017 agreement)  
    • Bank holidays are to be paid at 2T if worked and workers on band 4 will be paid at 1T if not worked (the 2017 agreement had no increased payment for bank holidays)   
    • Grace periods have been abolished (under the 2017 agreement, production could call these twice for no additional pay)


To learn more about the new TV Drama Agreement,

Visit the BECTU website