How to work and get paid as a Freelancer at ViacomCBS Networks International
We’re always on the lookout for brilliant freelance talent, from runners to Exec Producers.
Viacom International Studios (VIS) UK is the BAFTA-winning TV production arm of Viacom here in the UK. Based in the ViacomCBS offices in Camden, the VIS mission is to create brilliant programmes across streaming and linear channels in factual, comedy, entertainment and reality.
Have you got the talent to help us create great content?
Our who’s who is sprinkled with stardust; Channel 5, MTV, Spike, 5Star and Comedy Central and others. In 2020, we even made our first children’s sitcom for Nickelodeon.
Onboarding and compliance
Freelancer, temp, contractor, consultant – while different terminology might be used across various industries and companies, here at ViacomCBS, when we talk about ‘freelancers’, we mean all non-staff categories.
So, whether you are an individual or have a limited company, if you’re supplying personal services to us, we will refer to you as a “freelancer”.
This covers our PAYE Workers, Sole Traders (also known as ex-Schedule D or self-employed individuals) and Limited Companies (also known as Personal Service Companies (PSC)) across every corner of the business. You could be in production, post-production, the office, behind or in front of the camera.
You could be engaged as a presenter, contributor, gaffer, editor, compliance specialist or data analyst.
If you have any questions about your employment or tax status (which have different terminology), please email us at freelancersUK@vimn.com, and we’ll be happy to help.
RFF2 Form (Request for Freelancer, Part 2)
When you start working with us for the first time (or have not worked with us for a long time), we’ll ask you to complete a Request For Freelancer – Form 2. This form contains your personal data, banking info and diversity and inclusion data.
We’ll only ask you to do this once, and if/when we engage you in the future, we’ll only email to ask if any of your details have changed.
Your data is stored and encrypted securely in our freelancer database and will be disposed of after six years if we are not working with you again.
Right to work in the UK
We legally have to check that you have a right to work in the UK. If you’re British, we’ll check your passport, and that’s it. If you’re not British, we will also need your Settled Status Letter or Visa. We appreciate this is extra admin, but it is a legal requirement for us to do this, and we can be fined £20,000 (yes £20,000 per person!) for not doing this right. So please do supply the required documents when asked for.
We have our own insurances covering all sorts of things, including accidents and errors (especially in the production environment), but if you’re self-employed (either as a Sole trader – individual; or PSC with your own limited company), we need to make sure you have adequate insurances in place. Your insurances should cover:
 Public Indemnity  Errors and Omissions (also known as Professional Indemnity) and  Employer Liability if you are a limited company using substitutes or subcontractors.
 Public liability insurance is your protection if your business activities kill or injure a member of the public or damage their property. If that person takes you to court, it will cover your legal costs, as well as any compensation you have to pay. We know that sounds a bit scary, but it’s a must for any self-employed freelancer working in or with the public.
 Errors and Omissions / Professional Indemnity insurance helps protect you from lawsuits claiming you made a mistake, error or omission in your professional services. The reality is that any small business providing a professional service that can be challenged is vulnerable to a claim of negligence when the advice or service fails to meet a client’s expectations. From allegations of breach of copyright to accusations of defamation, these kinds of claims can be costly and disruptive, whether they’re fair or not.
 Employer liability insurance is designed to cover the costs if an employee claims compensation for illness or injury that they believe has been caused by their work. You must legally have this cover if you are using a substitute or are subcontracting others; otherwise this is not a standard insurance requirement.
If you are working with us on an engagement that includes children or vulnerable adults, you must provide us with a DBS check (which you will need to pay for). All engagements covering Nickelodeon or Channel 5 Milkshake must have a DBS check (basic is fine).
Master Terms & Conditions
Once we have your RFF2 form and all onboarding documents, you’ll be issued a ‘Summary Terms’ for each engagement with us, clearly stating the status of the assignment, your pay rate, start and end date and other relevant information.
Each engagement with us is governed by the overarching Master Terms & Conditions, and by signing the Summary Terms, you agree to be bound by these. Our current Master terms can be found here:
- PAYE Worker
- Sole Trader, Worker
- Sole Trader, Self-Employed
- “Outside IR35” LTD company (PSC)
- Agency (covering both PAYE workers and LTD companies)
When you work with us, we’ll also ask you to comply with our Business Practices (see below Our Values and Policies).
If you are supplied through an agency or umbrella company, we’ll work with them on the relevant terms. If you are a limited company freelancer and we determine your status as ‘inside IR35’, we will work with you on an individual basis to sign the correct terms for you, but most likely, you will need to switch to PAYE Worker terms.
While we are one unified company, we have a few sub-brands and, therefore, a few different processes for getting paid.
- If you are working for any of our sub-brands and if you are a PAYE worker or self-employed individual (Sole Trader/ex Schedule D) – you will be processed through our internal freelancer payroll.You will need to complete an invoice (template can be supplied from either freelancersUK@vimn.com or firstname.lastname@example.org ), submit it to your reporting manager for approval, and they’ll take care of the rest.
- If you are a limited company freelancer working for Channel 5 (including Viacom International Studios) – you will need to complete a new vendor form to register, and you will also be paid from our internal payroll. The form is available from email@example.comOnce you are set up, you will also need to submit an invoice to your reporting manager, who will take it from there.
- If you are a limited company freelancer (other than Channel 5), the process is a little more complicated. We are SOX compliant, and therefore you will have to be set up as ‘vendor’.
Instructions on registering and submitting your invoices are all available from your reporting manager or freelancersUK@vimn.com , and you can contact VendorInquiry@viacomcbs.com to check your registration status or invoice submission.
“We’re always on the lookout for brilliant freelance talent, from runners to Exec Producers.”
Our values and policies
At ViacomCBS, all our freelancers, contractors and vendors (non-staff) should conduct themselves in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations and laws of the country they are engaged in and uphold ViacomCBS values at all times.
Any unreasonable or unlawful conduct will result in an investigation and potentially in the termination of the contract. We expect all of our non-staff to:
- Act ethically and with integrity
- Comply with our Business Practices
- Respect and adhere to our company values. (See our Life at ViacomCBS section for more information)
- Respect the rights of everyone in the ViacomCBS community, including all employees, officers, consultants, contractors, freelancers, talent, crew, volunteers, interns, casual workers, agency workers and those engaged by either third party production companies or personal services companies performing work for our business
- Not harass, bully or discriminate anyone
- Take care of their own and others’ safety
- Not engage in any fraudulent activity
- Report any behaviour not compliant with the code to an HR representative (freelancersUK@vimn.com )
“Whether you are an individual or have a limited company, if you are supplying personal services to us, we will call you a freelancer!”
Contacts and reporting
We expect the entire ViacomCBS community to adhere to our business standards.
However, no statement or code of conduct can cover every situation that may arise in a complex business environment such as ours. Should you become aware of a potential violation of our policies, please speak up and report your concerns. You can contact your reporting manager or our dedicated freelancer team at freelancersUK@vimn.com
If you would like to report a situation anonymously, please visit OPENLINE to submit an online report. We always encourage your questions and feedback