DNEG introduced overtime pay for UK staff and broke industry norms

DNEG, the biggest employer in the U.K.'s vfx and animation sector, will introduce enhanced overtime pay as of next month, in a departure from industry norm.

Overtime (beyond 40 hours per week) will be paid at 1.5x rate to all U.K. staff in non-management positions, across film and episodic vfx, feature animation, and Redefine teams. This policy will bring the studio in line with the company's North American locations.

Paid overtime is not a legal requirement in the U.K., as it is in the U.S. and Canada. DNEG previously offered staff time off in lieu, as do most companies in the country's sector.

DNEG, which is headquartered in London, is not the first British company to make this shift. At the start of this month, 1.5x overtime pay came into effect at Bournemouth-based Outpost VFX. But DNEG is a giant of the industry, with close to 700 U.K. employees (and vacancies for 200 more artists), and its decision carries proportional weight.

Chris Burn, DNEG's general manager in London, told Screen he expects other vfx studios in the U.K. to introduce similar policies. “It is the right thing for the staff, the right thing for the industry to do,” he said. “This industry has matured to a point where it is the right time to bring this in.”

DNEG has been on growth mode lately. The company, which recently received a $250 million investment from Novator Capital Advisers, is expanding to Toronto and creating up to 500 new Canadian jobs. It is also setting up shop in Bangalore, its fourth Indian location (these don't yet enjoy overtime pay).

Its recent vfx credits include the upcoming Dune, No Time to Die, and The Matrix 4. Its young feature animation division worked on Locksmith Animation's Ron's Gone Wrong (image at top), which Disney will release next month.