RAM - Guidelines on Pay - Models, Tutors and Artists
RAM The Register of Artists Models

Guidelines - Pay

Consultative Guidelines

1. PAY << Guidelines Main Page

i). Rate

The RAM recommended rate for life modelling is £15.00 per hour.  In the past the RAM recommended rate was always set higher than the average rate obtainable, but now the latter is catching up.  

The RAM recommended rate seems modest enough if one takes into account the skills, experience and knowledge of art and art history that might reasonably be expected of artists' models if they are to satisfy the needs of present-day students.  Also taken into account are the health hazards involved (see section 2.iii), the casual nature of the employment (a lower rate could be acceptable in the case of full or part time contracts instead of casual ones), and the important fact that relatively few people are prepared to appear unclothed in public, even for a much higher rate of pay.  Although the average rate is below the RAM recommended rate, many employers manage to keep to the RAM rate.  Some even choose to exceed it, paying up to £20ph.  The RAM rate is less than half the rate received by most tutors who are on short-term contracts.

The reason for the current wide variation in fees is that some employers are still refusing to take RAM recommendations into account.  Some of them have not increased their rates for over ten years.  We suggest that members boycott the worst payers and write to those employers explaining why they taking such action.  The RAM recommended rate should always be quoted.

In fairness, it should be pointed out that in the case of some of those colleges where the official rates are very low, no model is likely to complain.  That's because of unofficial methods of supplementing the pay.  For example, in some places there is a long-standing tradition of tipping by the students.  It is not unknown for tutors to tell students exactly how much to put in the pot.  Another method is for the tutor to put extra hours, or even extra whole days on the model's time sheet (obviously this can only happen in colleges where there is no fixed amount of time allowed for life drawing).

Needless to say, both of these traditions are strictly forbidden by college managements, but they can go on for decades without anyone finding out.  This was a forbidden topic in RAM for many years, because members feared a clampdown by employers if we atarted to discuss it openly.  However, the fact is that these illicit methods of supplementing pay have made it harder to raise the general level of pay.  One of the authors of these guidelines was present when the finance office of one college called another college to ask what they paid their models.  The finance officer then proudly told the RAM officer that he was paying a lot more than the other college.  In reality, he wasn't even paying as much as them, because of falsified time sheets in the other college.

ii). Method of Payment

Cash-in-hand payment is often used as an excuse for low pay on two assumptions: that no model would declare such earnings to Inland Revenue and that the Revenue is not aware of the habit of paying models out of petty cash.  Neither of these assumptions is accurate.  The Revenue is also aware of the practice of persuading a model to make a false declaration of a P46, so that tax will not be deducted.  Sometimes the amount offered is calculated to take into account the amount of tax that would otherwise have been deducted at basic rate.  But overpaid tax is recoverable.  It is therefore not the case that £8 per hour cash-in-hand is equivalent to £11 per hour on PAYE.

On the other hand, it is certainly absurd that models working for thirty or more different employers in a year should have to go on the payroll of each one and be regarded as salaried staff, when they are really freelance in all but name.  This certainly confuses both the Revenue and the Benefits Agency, as many models can testify, and it means that models cannot claim their enormous travel expenses against tax.  The ideal situation would be for employers to accept invoices from properly self-employed models.  Payment would thus still be 'through the books' but without the absurd contradiction of 'casual PAYE'.

Most employers claim that the Revenue will not permit them to treat artists' models as self-employed.  The Revenue itself appears confused about this.  Some officers claim that art modelling is not legally recognized as genuine self-employment, others say there is no such law.  Our own tax consultants say that there could not in fact be any legal basis for banning models from self-employment.  Two large colleges who employed the same tax consultants have won the right to continue to regard models as self-employed, provided that the models invoice the employers in a proper manner, so that all transactions go through the employers' books.

iii). Contracts

Few RAM members work under proper full-time or part-time contracts of employment.  The contracts are usually 'sessional' and of very short duration and confer no employment rights at all.  Unfortunately the system of casual or sessional employment contracts as administered by most local authorities and colleges is a farce, since the contracts are signed by both parties after the work has been done.  In these circumstances it is really the tutor who has employed the model, and the tutor should, in theory, be responsible for paying the fees.  There are indeed some local authorities that do not themselves pay the models employed in their classes. It is left to the tutor, who has then to recover the money directly from the students.  This is the oldest system and probably the best, provided that it is not used as an excuse for lower fees.

While the system of 'retrospective' contracts persists, there is little point in our seeking the introduction of cancellation fees into contracts because if a session does not take place no contract is ever signed!  However, there is a general consensus, based on the practice insisted upon by Bare Facts Model Booking Service in their contracts with colleges, that models should always be paid in full for any session that is cancelled at less than ten days' notice.  Thus, if a block of four sessions is cancelled at, say, a week's notice, that would be two sessions cancelled at less than ten days' notice.  In practice, we have found little opposition to this policy amongst employers, who are usually anxious to hold on to their best models.

iv). Higher fees for taking charge

One London borough, which pays models upon receipt of invoice, accepts that models will invoice at the tutor's rate in the event of the tutor not being able to take the class, provided that no substitute can be found.  Models engaged by this borough must therefore be willing and able to take charge of the class if necessary.  We originally thought that we might be able to use this as a precedent, but so far it has not proved possible to interest any other employers in adopting such a policy.  We strongly advise members not to accept responsibility for a class (which would include health and safety), when there has been no prior understanding that this could be required.   Furthermore, members should not come to any such understanding unless higher fees are paid on such occasions.

iv). Very short sessions

Some employers, mainly secondary schools, offer bookings of as little as one and a half hours. RAM has now agreed that models should charge a minimum of £30 for a session.

v). Unpaid breaks

No booking of less than five hours should be interrupted by an unpaid break. An unpaid break is normally called the lunch break and should not exceed one hour. A second unpaid break of no more than an hour is acceptable in a booking of nine hours or more. RAM has so far failed to resolve problems concerning the frequency and duration of paid breaks.

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