Screen Industry Workers Act 2022

The Screen Industry Workers Act 2022 (SIWA) came into legal force and effect at the end of December 2022.

What does that mean for producers?

Producers must ensure all NEW individual contracts have the following mandatory terms. Existing contracts have 12 months to reflect the changes.

Key Points of SIWA

The SIWA sets out the:

- Employment status of screen production workers (the Bill will only cover certain contractors in the screen industry, and will not affect employees in the screen industry)
- Rules for individual contracts 
- Collective bargaining framework
- Dispute resolution system.

While preparations for collective bargaining will take some time, from the commencement of the Act at the end of December 2022, six new rules will apply to new and existing contracts as soon as the Bill comes into force. 

The six new rules for individual contracts:

  • Duty of good faith applies between workers and their engagers
  • Individual contracts must be in writing
  • Engagers must follow process rules for making and varying individual contracts
  • Individual contracts must contain mandatory terms (existing contracts will have extra time – 12 months – to comply with this)
  • Terms must not be worse than any applicable collective contract (once it has been negotiated)
  • Engagers can’t cancel contracts in retaliation for workers exercising their rights


All contracts must contain the following:

  • A term saying parties will comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act, and Human Rights Act
  • Bullying, discrimination, and harassment processes (template policy available here)
  • Dispute resolution processes
  • Termination notice periods and payments

The SIWA covers contractors whose work contributes to the creation of screen productions.  The Bill does not cover support services, volunteer work, and work done for a company that doesn't primarily do screen production work. The Bill will cover certain screen productions in Aotearoa New Zealand, including films, television series, and computer-generated games. 

- Worker Organisations, that represent workers in the screen industry (e.g. a Guild or Union such as DEGANZ, EQUITY, NZWG). 
- Engager organisations, that represent engagers (eg Spada)
- Producers and Production Companies are not specifically mentioned as they are considered the Engagers in the bill.

Key screen industry workers currently included in the Bill are arranged under Occupational Groups. The Bill allows collective contracts to be negotiated for the following occupations:

  • Composers
  • Directors
  • Writers
  • Performers
  • Technicians (Production)
  • Technicians (Post-Production)
  • Game Developers

The collective bargaining process takes place on two levels: the occupational level and the enterprise level. The process will be lengthy and expensive, and therefore it will take time for Spada to get prepared to register as an engager organisation. Spada will be consulting widely throughout the process, and will be holding online and in-person meetings to help members understand the SIWB and keep up to date with any activity in this area, and we encourage you to attend these sessions whenever possible.

When the collective bargaining process begins Spada will negotiate with the other worker organisations to set minimum terms for contractors' work (ie pay, breaks, public holidays, hours of work, availability for work, termination - and other terms which may be specific to the worker organisation).

There are three types of contracts covered by the Bill:

  1. Individual Contracts – these contracts are negotiated between an individual contractor and their engager (e.g a Producer or Production Company and an individual contractor/person). The terms of an individual contract must not be worse than the corresponding term in any relevant enterprise and occupational contract.
  2. Enterprise  Contracts – these contracts will cover particular work within an enterprise. They will be negotiated by a worker organisation and an engager (eg a production company). SPADA will not be involved in negotiating Enterprise Contracts.
  3. Occupational  Contracts – these contracts will cover all work done by an occupation group. They will be negotiated by worker organisations and engager organisations (eg Spada).

Spada will be engaging professional services where required, and the work on the SIWB will also involve a group of Spada Members who are representative of the broader screen sector and can inform the negotiations required during the collective bargaining process.

The general rules for governing the collective bargaining process are:

  • Must be done in good faith.
  • Once bargaining begins, a collective contract must eventually result.
  • Industrial action is not allowed.
  • All collective contracts must contain certain Mandatory Terms (see below) 

 Both types of collective contracts need to include the following mandatory terms:

  • Pay rates
  • Breaks
  • Public holidays
  • Hours of work
  • Availability for work
  • Bullying, discrimination, and harassment processes (template policy here)
  • Termination
  • Dispute resolution processes

Once they are in place, collective contracts will effectively set new minimum terms for work in the industry. For example, the pay rates in an Occupational Contract will become the new minimum pay rate for work done by that occupation of workers. Producers/Production Companies and workers can negotiate above the minimum terms set by collective contracts, and reflect this in individual contracts.

Spada will update members and update this page as and when new information comes to hand. If you would like to know more about the SIWB please follow the links below or get in touch with Spada if you have any questions. 


  • Worker organisation: an organisation that represents workers (eg union or guild).
  • Engager organisation: an organisation that represents engagers (producers/production companies).
  • Collective contracts: the contracts that result from collective bargaining.
  • Occupational contract: the product of occupational bargaining.
  • Enterprise contract: the product of enterprise bargaining.
  • Bargaining parties: refers to the worker organisations and engager organisations that are bargaining a collective contract.
  • Signatory parties: refers to the worker organisations and engager organisations that bargained a collective contract.




Employment Relations (Film Production Work) Amendment Bill AKA The Hobbit Law

This legislation was passed overnight in 2010 by the National Government of the day. The reasons and rationale became clear over the next decade, unfortunately at the time it was a law that divided an industry.

You can read an explanation by Helen Kelly, President of the NZ Council of Trade Unions in 2011.

Film Industry Working Group (FIWG) - Formed in January 2018

The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway formed the Film Industry Working Group (FIWG) consisting of screen industry representatives (including Spada), alongside the Council of Trade Unions and BusinessNZ. 

The working group was formed to make recommendations on changes to the regulatory framework for film industry workers that will restore the rights of film production workers to bargain collectively, while continuing to work as contractors.

You can understand the background on the history of the FIWG.


FIWG Recommendations - Delivered in October 2018

By October 2018, the FIWG had unanimously agreed on a set of recommendations that were presented to the Minister and government. These recommendations would then form the basis of drafting the new legislation to be called the Screen Industry Workers Bill. Between October 2018 and December 2019, a smaller subgroup of the original FIWG was called back into MBIE conversation and consultation to assist with the technicalities of drafting SIWB Legislation.

The smaller FIWG consisted of Alice Shearman - Executive Director NZWG, Richard Fletcher - Co-President Spada, Melissa Ansell-Bridges - Executive Director Actors Equity and Sioux MacDonald - Vice President SIGANZ.

You can read the full recommendations by the FIWG

In May 2019, the Government responded to the FIWG. The Government agreed to endorse the FIWG’s recommendations to create a new regulatory framework for contractors doing screen production work (subject to limiting the scope of workers covered by their proposed model) and commenced consultation with parties in the screen industry on draft legislation giving effect to the recommendations. You can read the following full response from the Government.

This resulted in another year of consultation around the drafting of the legislation between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the smaller FIWG cohort. 


Screen Industry Workers Bill - Introduced to Parliament

In February 2020 the Screen Industry Workers Bill completed drafting and was introduced to Parliament. This started the process of readings and investigation through the Education and Workforce Select Committee:

5 March 2020 - First Reading of the draft legislation in Parliament
25 May 2020 - Written Submissions to the Education and Workforce Select Committee 
Jun-Jul 2020 - Oral submissions presented to the Education and Workforce Select Committee
6 Aug 2020 - Select Committee Deliver their report to Parliament

March 2022 Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Hon Michael Wood indicated that the Bill would proceed to Second Reading in the second half of 2022. The second reading was completed in September. The SIWB came into effect in December 2022. It is now the SIWA.