Pact, Bectu agree working hours and pay deal for UK drama shoots

The new deal runs for three years

By Tim Dams 12 Dec 2022

Pact, Bectu agree working hours and pay deal for UK drama shoots
The Crown. Credit: Des Willie/Netflix

UK producers’ organisation Pact and broadcasting union Bectu have finally agreed a deal on working conditions for TV and SVOD drama productions after more than a year of negotiations.

Bectu members working will be engaged under new terms from 1 January 2023 after a majority voted to accept a new TV drama agreement from Pact.

The original five-year agreement ran out on September 1 and was extended twice as the two organisations tried to come to terms. The new deal runs for three years.

The TV Drama Agreement sets out terms and conditions and best working practices in areas such as hours, rest breaks, travel time and dealing with complaints.

The new terms will apply to all new and existing productions from 1 January 2023, unless the drama has commenced principal photography in 2022 and has completed more than 50% of its filming schedule in 2022, and providing it is scheduled to complete principal photography by 31 March 2023.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “This has been a complex, protracted and at times difficult process and I want to thank all those who voted and our reps, who have dedicated many hours over the last 18 months and have been determined to highlight important issues for our members.

“Our focus has always been on delivering improved terms and conditions for all those working in TV drama. We are pleased to have made some improvements but recognise there is still further progress to be made in addressing key issues that impact our members’ lives.

“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.”

In a statement, Pact said: This agreement, which comes into force on 1st  January 2023, has a term of three years and will provide stability for the industry at a time of economic challenge. The agreement covers all scripted including regional/nations drama, kids and comedy - productions that can be difficult to finance but are fundamental to the drama landscape because they are a training ground for new and diverse talent and crew members.

“Pact would like to thank the heads of production from member companies who worked tirelessly in order to find pragmatic and fair solutions to issues raised during negotiations.”

Changes to the 2022 agreement

Shooting hours

  • Scheduled days can only be 10 hours worked plus one unpaid hour for lunch. 11+1 days have been eliminated in TV Drama.
  • Sixth shooting days to be paid at 1.5T and non-shooting sixth days paid at a minimum of 10 hours for six hours worked or 1.5T if over six hours. 2017’s contract had no additional payment for sixth consecutive days.
  • A cap on split days for schedules over seven 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.


  • Undefined ‘prep and wrap’ time has been replaced and limited to one paid hour per day
  • The agreement now covers made for TV features and streamers

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