When a writer performs covered services for a signatory producer, in addition to the monies they earn for writing, the company also makes contributions toward the writer’s pension and health coverage. The contributions determine whether or not a writer will qualify for health coverage in a given year (or years), and also determine retirement options once a writer vests. Until now, there hasn’t been a good way to keep track of this information over the entire course of a writer’s career.
What we have been doing
The PWGA is required to send a statement of earnings and pension contributions once every three years. The PWGA opted to far exceed that minimum by sending out the statements twice a year. However, even with the best of intentions, by the time the statements are processed, printed, and mailed, the content is often six months out of date, and sometimes more.
If a writer reviews the mailed pension statement and discovers a contribution is missing, a writer may have to retroactively apply for earned health coverage that has not been provided because he/she didn’t seem to have sufficient contributions to qualify until the mistake was discovered. This is an all too common occurrence, and any writer who has had to cope with this situation can tell you what a miserable experience this can be.
What we’ve been doing to improve
As the PWGA improved its information systems infrastructure, we placed the employer contribution statements online. This reduced the delay caused by mailing, resulting in the information being available weeks earlier, and any time of the day or night that a writer chose to examine the records, but once the data was published, it could not be made more current if new information arrived; we didn’t have the capability to update more often than twice a year. While the data was timelier than the mailed version, it still reflected information that was at least three months out of date.
Starting July 1, 2017
The hard work of revamping and updating our information systems infrastructure has begun to pay off. Starting July 1, 2017, writers will be able to see the most current records of their earnings and contributions, and that information will be updated daily. As a result, writers now have the ability to address an incorrect payment/contribution as soon as it is reported, rather than having to wait until months after the fact.
We hope you find these new features valuable.
Once you log in, you are presented with the most recent contributions. As you look at this page, you will see a table filled with a chronological list of your covered earnings and concomitant contributions made on your behalf for the covered work. Right below the most recent earnings, you will also see a graphical representation for your entire career earnings (and contributions).
To find out more about how to use the search engine, just look for the help icon () and click it.
As you will see, you can search your records using any number of criteria: by year; by employer; by title of show; and you can combine search criteria as well. Want to search by year and employer? No problem. Partial words will work. Ranges of dates. Multiple employers. You are welcome to experiment. There is no way to harm your data.
You can generate a PDF report simply by clicking on the “Export to PDF” button right next to the search field. The resulting report can be shared, printed, stored on your local machine and used any way a writer desires. For example, if a writer is being audited by the IRS and there is a dispute over income in a given year, the writer can create a report for the contested year, click “Export to PDF”, and then send the results to the accountant. Information about earnings and contributions can be created in seconds (though it can take longer, depending on the number of records in a Writer’s work history), and the results can be shared (or not) in any way the writer desires.
The PWGA takes its role as Your Trusted Guide seriously; it’s our core mission. We are constantly looking for ways to do a better job of servicing our Participants. Placing contribution and earnings information online, updated daily, is one example of our efforts, and there is more to come. We hope you find this new capability useful, and we look forward to bringing you many more new and effective resources.