FAQ's

Payroll Clients

General Payroll

Q1: I would like to process payroll at Media Services.  What are the first steps? What is the procedure for payroll?

Q2: How do I make adjustments on an edit?

Q3: Where do I get current Federal Start paperwork?

Q4: Why do we have to provide original documents?

Q5: I am a current Media Services client, and I have a new show to set up. What steps should I take?

Q6: Why do we need to complete all of this paperwork?

Q7: Can I request special reports on my payroll, like an Ad Hoc report?

Q8: I have a shoot out of the country. What is the standard procedure to process payroll for the location shoot?

Q9: Do we have to indicate meal or lunch breaks on time cards?

Q10: Who is the Employer-of-Record for unemployment purposes?

Q11: What paperwork is required for SAG payrolls?

Q12: Why do we have to submit start/close paperwork for employees who have been paid previously if all they are doing is moving to a new project?

Q13: How do you handle Escrow or Salary Advance payments?

Q14: Do you pay freelancers and/or independent contractors?

Q15: Do you pay guarantees?

Q16: Do you pay LLCs?

Q17: What types of corporations do you pay?

Q18: We need more blank timecards. Is there a quick way to get them?

Q19: Where are employees taxed? Work state or resident state?

Q20: Do you offer health insurance for production companies?

Q21: How do we use our union deposit?

Q22: What is the current mileage rate for 2011?

Q23: What is the Federal Minimum wage?

Q24: What do various states require to employ minors?

Q25: What are the Federal regulations regarding overtime?

Q26: What are the California overtime regulations?

Q27: What are the current Per Diem Rates?

Q28: Do you offer Direct Deposit?

Q29: How do I get set up to pay residuals?

Q30: What is a Personnel Services Agreement (PSA)?

Q31: Why did I receive a Late Payroll Indemnification Letter?

Q32: How do I set up a pre-tax deduction plan with Media Services, such as a 401(k), 125 Cafeteria, or a Transitchek plan?

Q33: Why must the employee sign a Loan-Out Indemnification Agreement when being paid through their corp. or LLC?

Q34: Do you pay Guaranteed Hours?

Q35: What do I need to know about the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act?

Q36: Will Media Services pay employees without a signed time card or start form?



Q1
I would like to process payroll at Media Services.  What are the first steps? What is the procedure for payroll?
A1
First, you will need to contact the Sales Department at 800.333.7518, and they will assist you in getting started. They will send you the appropriate start forms depending on whether your show is union or non-union. The forms must be filled out accurately to avoid delays. That includes a complete start form with position and rate as well as complete federal forms, the W-4 and I-9. Once you have complete start forms for your crew they should also complete time cards, which the accountant on the production will break out and send in alphabetical order to their Media Services payroll coordinator. Once in-house at Media Services, your payroll and starts will be processed and you should receive an edit from the coordinator within 48 hours. Then the edit should be approved and processed.
Q2
How do I make adjustments on an edit?
A2
To make a change to your edit, contact your payroll coordinator by phone or email and give them the details of the adjustment that needs to be made.
Q3
Where do I get current Federal Start paperwork?
A3
The current Federal Start paperwork is the I-9 and W-4. Both of these forms are attached.
W-9 form download Click Here
W-4 form download Click Here
I-9 form download Click Here
For Corps and LLCs a W-9 is needed to be filled out, to download Click Here
Q4
Why do we have to provide original documents?
A4
As Employer-of-Record, we are required by the government to keep original documents for all processed payroll. Regardless of where a production is located, original paperwork is a requirement. This is especially the case with legal documents, such as W-4 and I-9 forms.  In the event of an audit, copies of these documents will not suffice.
Q5
I am a current Media Services client, and I have a new show to set up. What steps should I take?
A5
You should contact both your existing payroll coordinator and the Client Services Department.  You may email the Client Services Department at mediaclientservices@media-services.com or call the toll free number at 866-429-9316.
Q6
Why do we need to complete all of this paperwork?
A6
Job classification, work states, work dates and wage rates are all things that must appear on all time cards. These all fall under the Fair Labor Standards Act. As Employer-of-Record, we are required to keep accurate and detailed documents on file for all employees for whom we process payroll. Download Fact Sheet 21: Record keeping requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act Click Here.
Q7
Can I request special reports on my payroll, like an Ad Hoc report?
A7
Yes. Contact your payroll coordinator to make a request for a special report.
Q8
I have a shoot out of the country.  What is the standard procedure to process payroll for the location shoot?
A8
As soon as you find out your crew will be traveling out of the country, contact your payroll coordinator and our workers’ comp department and let them know which region you will be shooting in, with the exact location. Please let us know as soon as you can, since there are some special circumstances in different countries. Your coordinator will be able to assist you in processing your payroll and guide you through the additional steps, depending on what country you are shooting in.
Q9
Do we have to indicate meal or lunch breaks on time cards?
A9
Lunch or meal breaks should always be indicated on time cards, as certain states have labor laws regarding meal breaks. For more information please Click Here.
Q10
Who is the Employer-of-Record for unemployment purposes?
A10
It is the payroll company that issued you your payroll check, which could be for example Production Processing, Inc. or Film Payment Services, Inc. For questions about unemployment, please call Client Services at 866.429.9316.
Q11
What paperwork is required for SAG payrolls?
A11
To process payroll for a SAG performer we need: Union Start/Close form, W-4 form, I-9 form, copy of SAG performer contract, and W-9 form. We need articles for corporations; agent check authorization form and actors weekly time report. We do not require exhibit G’s.
Q12
Why do we have to submit start/close paperwork for employees who have been paid previously if all they are doing is moving to a new project?
A12
For repeat clients we require only the first page of the start/close form for employees who are moving from project to project. This form is project specific, not production company specific.
Q13
How do you handle Escrow or Salary Advance payments?
A13
Please keep in mind that if you are advancing salary payments, you will need to calculate Net Pay, rather than advancing Gross Pay. As Employer-of-Record, we are required to withhold payroll taxes. You can use any payroll calculator online to calculate the Net Pay for an individual; see paycheckcity.com.
Q14
Do you pay freelancers and/or independent contractors?
A14
We do not pay independent contractors. We only pay employees. If there are people you feel are appropriate to pay as independent contractors, you would logically pay them from your Accounts Payable and issue them 1099 forms at the end of the year. Many people confuse freelancers with independent contractors. They are not the same. An independent contractor is an unincorporated business, which has a risk of loss. Download IRS guidelines on independent contractors here
Q15
Do you pay guarantees?
A15
We do not pay guarantees. We only pay hours worked. Whatever the in and out times are indicated on time cards is what we pay. We do not pay "flat" rates to non-exempt employees, as they are prohibited by law.
Q16
Do you pay LLCs?
A16
Yes.  Before we can issue payments to any employee who wishes to be paid under a Limited Liability Company, we first require a W-9 form, Articles of Organization, a signed LLC Indemnification letter, and copies of tax forms 8832 or 1120. See attached LLC documents for more information.
Download Sample LLC
Download LLC Set up Process
Download LLC Taxation
Q17
What types of corporations do you pay?
A17
1. Corporations, which applies to both C corporations and S corporations.  The loan-out must provide a W-9 and copy of Articles of Incorporation.

2. General Partnership applies to general partnerships with 2 or more partners. (By definition, there is no such thing as a partnership with 1 partner.) The loan-out must provide a W-9 and copy of Statement of Partnership Authority.

3. Limited Partnership applies to limited partnerships that are formally organized. The loan-out must provide a W-9 and copy of Certificate of Limited Partnership.

4. Multi-Member Limited Liability Company applies to limited liability companies that have 2 or more members. The loan-out must provide a W-9 and copy of Articles of Organization. 

5. Single-Member Limited Liability Company applies to limited liability companies that have only 1 member, but have elected to be taxed as a corporation.  The loan-out must provide a W-9, copy of Articles of Organization, and a copy of their IRS Form 8832, which is the election form, or Form 1120, which is the corporate tax return.
Q18
We need more blank timecards. Is there a quick way to get them?
A18
For features payroll please contact Features Administrative Support at 310-417-9352 and for commercials payroll contact Payroll Clerical Support at 310-440-9660.
Q19
Where are employees taxed? Work state or resident state?
A19
Employees are taxed based on work state (if the state in which they work has a reciprocity agreement with their resident state, they will be taxed on resident state only).
Q20
Do you offer health insurance for production companies?
A20
Yes, for more information please contact your payroll service representative.
Q21
How do we use our union deposit?
A21
Production companies must receive written approval from union representatives, before our Business Affairs and Accounts Receivable Departments can release any portion or the entirety of their union deposits. This is not a quick process. The union will not give approval until all Pension, Health and Welfare contributions have been remitted and all wages have been paid to date.
Q22
What is the current mileage rate for 2011?
A22
The Federal Maximum Non-Taxable mileage rate for the use of a business vehicle (per the IRS) is $0.555 per mile for 2011. If it exceeds that amount it would be Taxable Mileage. The amount differs if your project is Union or Non-Union. Some union agreements call for mileage to be paid at this rate, others at $0.30 per mile. Non-union goes by what the production has agreed to pay.
Q23
What is the Federal Minimum wage?
A23
The current federal and state minimum wages can always be found Here. Remember that if a state’s minimum wage is higher than the federal, the state wage prevails.
Q24
What do various states require to employ minors?
A24
Please view the table of child entertainment provisions as outlined by the Department of Labor. See table of child entertainment provisions Here.
Q25
What are the Federal regulations regarding overtime?
A25
Covered employees who work overtime must be paid at a rate that is one and one-half times their regular, “straight-time” hourly rate of pay. This overtime rate applies to all time over 40 hours in a payroll week.

The overtime requirement is based on hours worked in a given payroll week. Thus, time and one-half, double-time or any amount higher than the agreed rate is not required simply because the work is performed after eight hours per day or on Saturday or Sunday.

Employees covered by a State Minimum Wage Order must be paid for the overtime hours at one and one-half times the basic minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Q26
What are the California overtime regulations?
A26
Overtime is due after 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week unless an alternative work week of no more than 4 days of 10 hours was established prior to 7/1/99. Premium day on 7th day is not required for an employee whose total weekly work hours do not exceed 30 and whose total hours in any one work day thereof do not exceed 6, in specific wage and hour orders.
Q27
What are the current Per Diem Rates?
A27
Visit the US General Services Administration website Here.
Q28
Do you offer Direct Deposit?
A28
Yes, it is an optional service that can be elected by the production. Direct deposit requires a 48-hour window before it can be effective. For information on setting up direct deposit for your show, contact your payroll coordinator, or call Client Services at 866-429-9316.
Q29
How do I get set up to pay residuals?
A29
A separate service agreement is needed in order to have residuals processed through Media Services, whether the production did its initial payroll through Media Services or not. For further questions regarding client setup please contact the Residuals Department at 310-440-9677.
Q30
What is a Personnel Services Agreement (PSA)?
A30
The PSA is the formal agreement between the client and payroll company setting forth the business relationship and the obligations of each party.  It is signed one time, prior to the start of the business relationship.  A separate agreement must be executed for each payroll company.
Q31
Why did I receive a Late Payroll Indemnification Letter?
A31
A separate service agreement is needed in order to have residuals processed through Media Services, whether the production did its initial payroll through Media Services or not. For further questions regarding client setup please contact the Residuals Department at 310-440-9677.
Q32
How do I set up a pre-tax deduction plan with Media Services, such as a 401(k), 125 Cafeteria, or a Transitchek plan?
A32
Check with Client Services about completing all necessary agreements and addendums. Once set up for these plans, your employees must complete an Employee Deduction Form, indicating the correct amounts to be deducted and submit the form with their payroll.  We will deduct the indicated amount from the employee's check and credit back to the production company, and then you are responsible for depositing the monies withheld from employees into the appropriate employee accounts.  Media Services does not sponsor or administer these types of plans; we only make the deductions. It is the production company’s responsibility to sponsor and administer the specific plan for your employees.
Q33
Why must the employee sign a Loan-Out Indemnification Agreement when being paid through their corp. or LLC?
A33
When the employee wants to be paid through their loan-out or corp., and the payroll company is not to withhold taxes, the payroll company must be indemnified for any tax related matters that may arise between the IRS and the employee's loan-out or corp.  Along with the signed Indemnification Agreement, employee must submit the proper backup documents relating to their corp.
Q34
Do you pay Guaranteed Hours?
A34
Yes.  Specific criteria must be met and approved by Media Services.  This includes, but is not limited to, all Federal and State law requirements.
Q35
What do I need to know about the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act?
A35
The New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) went into effect April 9, 2011. It requires individual notices to be provided to each employee regarding regular pay and overtime pay rates. Fines are steep for noncompliance. Media Services provides its clients with preprinted forms to issue to new hires and existing employees on an annual basis. For existing employees, new forms must be issued before February 1 of each year. An updated list of FAQ's from New York State's Department of Labor can be found here: www.labor.state.ny.us

Find a sample form Here

Q36
Will Media Services pay employees without a signed time card or start form?
A36
No. While there is no legal requirement that employees sign time cards or other documents for the purposes of getting paid for work performed, an employer can implement a policy requiring employees to sign time cards. Media Services' payroll companies have such policies in place. Since we are the employer of record, we require signed time cards in order to verify that the employee agrees with the work hours being submitted by the production company. If you have any specific questions about this policy, please call our Business Affairs department at 310-440-9616.








Copyright © 2011 Media Services All rights reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy