February 6, 2003
|401(k) Plan Now Offered under AEA-LORT Agreement Actors, Stage Managers Can Defer Salary for Retirement and Tax Benefit|
Actors' Equity is pleased to announce that the Equity-League 401(k) Plan has been extended to the AEA-LORT Contract, effective February 1, 2003. Actors and Stage Managers employed under the LORT (League of Resident Theatres) Contract on or after the effective date may now enroll in the plan.
Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg said that the 401(k) Plan was "one of the most important achievements that Equity has made in contract negotiations, first in the Production and Off Broadway contracts, and now in LORT." Last year, the LORT contract generated over $47 million dollars in earnings, with over 57,000 work weeks for Equity members.
A 401(k) deduction is a voluntary salary deferral which is automatically deducted by the employer. The deferral is treated as a pre-tax contribution before federal income taxes are calculated and deducted, thereby reducing taxable income. In addition, all interest earned is tax deferred until money is withdrawn.
According to Equity Senior Business Representative Zalina Hoosein, Actors may choose to defer up to 85% of their pre-tax weekly compensation. Compensation includes contractual salary, overtime, unused vacation, overscale expense payments and per diems, and sick pay if applicable. No more than $5,500.00 of weekly compensation may be considered for deferrals, thus the maximum weekly deferral is $4675.00 (85% of $5,500.00). Ms. Hoosein clarified that the LORT and Off Broadway 401(k) contributions are made by the employee, unlike the Production Contract, where a 3% contribution is made by the employer (in addition to whatever the employee contributes).
The Federal Government limits the maximum amount of salary that can be deferred per year. For 2003, the maximum salary that participants can defer from all employers is $12,000.00. (Note that participants who are 50 or older are eligible to defer an additional $2000.00 in 2003).
Record keeping and investments are managed for the Equity-League 401(k) Trust Fund through MassMutual Retirement Services, a leader in the retirement services industry. The Plan charges participants an annual fee of $95.00.
401(k) informational packets have been sent to every LORT theatre for distribution to all Equity cast members. If you do not receive your packet, contact your theatre manager.
"We are delighted to offer this important benefit to our members," said Eisenberg and Hoosein.
For further information about the 401(k) plan, call the Equity-League Trust Fund at 1-800-344-5220 or visit http://www.equityleague.org/