WAGE 

FAQ

I don’t live in the United States and I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I become a WAGENT and use WAGENCY?

Yes. You can become a WAGENT and use WAGENCY, but only when you work with an institution based in the United States. However, displaying your WAGENT number and SVG logo when you transact your labor with institutions outside the U.S. might increase your leverage in negotiating a better deal with them.

 

I'm not an artist but art institutions contract me to provide content for their programs. Can I become a WAGENT and use WAGENCY?

Yes. Anyone who provides content for the programs of nonprofit art institutions can be a WAGENT and use WAGENCY to transact their labor. Whether you are an activist, actor, choreographer, critic, curator, dancer, filmmaker, historian, musician, painter, performer, poet, sculptor, social practitioner, writer, or something else, when you provide content that fits within W.A.G.E.'s 15 Fee Categories, you are an artist. These categories broadly define the work artists do in the nonprofit sector for which there were no existing payment standards and guidelines until the introduction of W.A.G.E. Certification in 2014. WAGENCY is an effort to enforce their standardization across the sector. If you are a freelance worker who provides services for which there are existing industry standards, such as a teaching artist, graphic designer, lighting designer, or exhibition furniture fabricator, for example, you cannot use WAGENCY to transact your labor.

 

What is W.A.G.E. Certification?

W.A.G.E. Certification is a national program initiated and operated by W.A.G.E. that publicly recognizes those nonprofit art institutions demonstrating a history of, and commitment to, voluntarily paying artist fees that meet minimum payment standards. Artists don't need WAGENCY to work with W.A.G.E. Certified institutions since they already pay W.A.G.E. fees. A current list of W.A.G.E. Certified institutions can be found here

 

What if the program I have been contracted to do doesn't fit into W.A.G.E.'s 15 fee categories?

This is a very common issue for W.A.G.E. Certified institutions as well and there is always a solution. Please contact W.A.G.E. directly: wagency@wageforwork.com.

 

What services do I get by joining WAGENCY?

Once a WAGENT, you'll receive a nontransferable membership number and dynamic SVG logo for identifying yourself as a member. You'll gain access to a database containing the total annual operating expenses of thousands of nonprofit institutions across the United States. Using this data, you can instantly generate minimum schedules for W.A.G.E. fees, determine the total cost of your labor, send Fee Requests through the platform directly to contracting institutions, negotiate compensation, and request payment. If you are an artist who employs assistant labor or an artist who works as an assistant, you can use the WAGENCY Work Agreement to establish a set of equitable terms on which to engage in a working relationship.

 

How much does it cost to join WAGENCY?

It costs $5 USD/month.

 

What kind of payments do you accept?

PayPal and most credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, and Diner’s Club.

 

Do I get paid through WAGENCY?

No. No financial transactions take place through the platform.

 

Can I send Fee Requests to institutions outside the United States?

If the institution is a nonprofit registered in the U.S. but located elsewhere you can, but otherwise, WAGENCY is for now limited to institutions based in the U.S.

 

Can I send Fee Requests to commercial galleries?

No. WAGENCY is for negotiation between artists and nonprofit art institutions.

 

Can I send Fee Requests to W.A.G.E. Certified institutions?

Yes. The fees of W.A.G.E. Certified institutions are determined by their projected current annual operating expenses and are pulled from information submitted to W.A.G.E. each fiscal year.

 

Can I send Fee Requests that are higher than W.A.G.E. standards?

Yes! And we encourage you to do so. 

Can I send Fee Requests that are lower than W.A.G.E. standards?

No. WAGENTS are required to begin by requesting W.A.G.E. fees. 

 

What happens if the institution declines to pay me W.A.G.E. fees?

You have two choices:

1) Decline to work with the contracting institution and become a Certified WAGENT.

2) Continue to negotiate until you reach an agreement. Your status as a WAGENT will not change.

 

If I’m a Certified WAGENT and an institution declines my Fee Request but I agree to work with them at a rate that is below W.A.G.E. standards, will I still be certified?

No. Once you negotiate at a lower rate you will no longer be certified, but the next time you negotiate W.A.G.E. fees or decline to work with an institution that won't pay W.A.G.E. fees you'll become certified again. In other words, you're only as good as your last transaction.

 

Will I lose my WAGENT status if I accept a payment below W.A.G.E. standards?

No. You will always be a WAGENT as long as you continue to be a member of WAGENCY.

 

How will other people know if my WAGENT status has changed?

Your WAGENT logo is a dynamic SVG file that always reflects your current status: as long as you continue to negotiate W.A.G.E. fees or withhold labor when not paid them, you will be listed as certified. The logo will display a checkmark when you're certified and no checkmark when you are not.

 

Can anyone else see my correspondence with institutions?

No. Your correspondence is intended to be private and confidential, but like a Google Doc, anyone with the link can view it. W.A.G.E. does not monitor negotiations but the platform keeps a record that can be accessed by W.A.G.E. if necessary.

 

Is W.A.G.E. tracking and using my data?

W.A.G.E. is keeping track of transactions in order to understand how WAGENCY is impacting the field and to make those insights available to users. This will include the number of times WAGENTS withhold labor; the mean number of payments above and below W.A.G.E. standards; and the average amount of time it takes WAGENTS to receive payment. All data is aggregated, fully anonymized, and will be made available to members on a regular basis. We have made every effort to make WAGENCY GDPR compliant, please read our Privacy Policy and User Agreement.

 

I'm an Uncertified WAGENT who employs a WAGENT as my assistant. Do I have to sign a WAGENCY Work Agreement with them?

Only Certified WAGENTS are obliged to adhere to W.A.G.E. standards for assistant labor, but if a WAGENT initiates a WAGENCY Work Agreement with you, we recommend that you use it. The purpose of WAGENCY is to give artists maximum agency in bringing about a more equitable and transparent distribution of art's economy, and that includes the labor relation between artists.