China caps film actors’ pay

Film set

Something for the weekend: Five government agencies in China have announced that the salaries of on-screen actors are to be capped at 40% of total production costs.

A joint notice from five Chinese government agencies, including the tax authority, the television and film regulator and the propaganda department, confirmed on Wednesday 27 June 2018 that the salaries of on-screen actors will be capped at 40% of the total production costs, according to state-run media agency Xinhua and as reported in The Guardian.

The notice, as reported by Xinhua, further announced that leading on-screen actors will have their pay capped so that they do not receive more than 70% of the total wages for the overall cast.

The directive is said to be in response to ‘yin-yang contracts’, a mechanism some Chinese celebrities have been accused of using in order to evade paying taxes. This involves actors being issued with two employment contracts, one detailing a larger salary amount and a second showing a smaller overall salary, with only the smaller salary amount being reported to the authorities for tax purposes.

The pay cap aligns with guidelines which were released by the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television last year.

Here at Employee Benefits, we think this is an interesting way to combat pay disparity in Hollywood, even though the pay cap in this instance is designed to ensure tax is paid correctly. We wonder what the UK’s TV and film stars would make of these changes to Chinese actors’ wage slips…