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            New Child Performer Regulations Take Effect Today!
(and no, this isn't an April Fool's Hoax)

The End
And They Lived Happily Ever After . . . The End

The much anticipated New York Department of Labor Child Performer regulations have been adopted and become effective today, April 1, 2013. These regulations interpret the broadly written Child Performer Education & Trust Act of 2003 that gives the NY DOL authority to regulate child performers and productions that include children.  

 

New Language

We are pleased with the new language drafted by newly appointed Pico Ben-Amotz, Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection at the NYS DOL, with the support of Governor Cuomo's Office.  It bears repeating that Mr. Ben-Amotz graciously asked for our input, reviewed our position statements, sought our advice, allowed us to have a seat at the table along side SAG-AFTRA and Equity, and extended us an invitation to call him with any questions.

 

A Look Back At The 2010 Proposed Regulations

In 2010, the NYS DOL proposed regulations that many believed would jeopardize the safety of child performers, add unnecessary and expensive regulations to production companies, and provide an incentive for these companies to leave the state and refrain from employing New York's children. 

 

The proposed regulation that received the most media attention prohibited child performers from working past 10 p.m. effectively shutting down Broadway productions such as "Billy Elliot" and "Mary Poppins," whose shows traditionally end after 10 p.m. 

 

These proposed regulations also included language from an ill-conceived "Eating Disorder Committee" that mandated a bi-annual mental and physical health examination, promoted monitoring of child performers for eating disorders, and allowed physicians to revoke a child performer's work permit.  If adopted, such regulations would have greatly interfered with the doctor patient relationship, undermined medical information confidentiality, and led to a reduction in the quality of patient care. 

 

Although there were many objectionable regulations, perhaps none was so offensive as the "Responsible Person" provision which would have required children as young as six years old to be removed from their parent and placed with an unvetted, untrained and unknown production employee, who would then be responsible (costuming, bathroom breaks, eating, etc.) for the child(ren) for the day. 

 

Thank You

A huge debt of gratitude goes to all who have advocated on behalf of safe regulations while promoting the growth of NYC and NYS production industry.  You signed our petition, you wrote letters, you spoke at the Labor hearings, you made calls to media outlets, you provided legal analysis and offered your support in more ways than we can count. 

 

We would like to thank Governor Cuomo and his staff, the newly elected DOL Commissioner Peter Rivera, and Senator Carlucci and his team at the Administrative Regulations Review Commission (ARRC) for their dedication and leadership in promoting healthy regulations despite enumerable challenges. 

 

Personal and heartfelt thanks goes to Deputy Commissioner Pico Ben-Amotz who understood that each entertainment industry works under distinct conditions, that productions are cost sensitive, and that child performers are a unique and vital part of New York's workforce that deserve our thoughtful protection. 

 

Finally, I would like to recognize the dedication of Anne Henry and Paula Dorn of BizParentz Foundation. For over ten years, Anne and Paula have been leading the charge in child performer advocacy in California and nationwide.  Their support, guidance and insight have been immeasurable and, for that, we are truly grateful. 

 

Our New Regulations

We strongly encourage you to read the regulations in their entirety. Click Here for Link to New Regulations

 

Highlights include: 

  • Work hours specific to each industry.
  • "Responsible Person" - Parent can appoint himself or herself to be responsible person, or even appoint another parent, with a provision for live theatre that in many respects maintains and enhances established live theatre traditions. Responsible person to be within sight OR sound of the child. Entity (production company/employer, etc.) shall assess whether the person to be designated is familiar with the hours and working conditions and shall conduct a check of New York State and national sex offender registries, and shall consider the results in accordance with Article 23-A of the Correction Law. 
  • Work Permit valid only when trust account information attached preventing lost pay for child. Mirrors CA regulation.
  • Reasonable provisions for 'reality tv' participants.
  • Health Certificates - NY Department of Labor has assured us that the certifications will mirror the language now used by schools for athletic clearances
  • Education regulations can found in Part 186.5. Please read them carefully as each child's circumstances are unique.

Department of Labor Summary of Regulations

Below is a summary of the new regulations provided by the NY DOL:

 

YCRR - Part 186, Child Performers became effective on April 1, 2013.

The authority to make regulations is established by Labor Law 154-a.  Child Performers are also regulated by the Arts and Cultural Affairs Law, the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law, and the Education Law.

 

These regulations establish new responsibilities for employers, as well as parents/guardians of child performers. The following outline summarizes the most significant provisions of the new regulations. Please review the Regulations, see the Child Performer FAQs, and access the applications and forms for more detailed information.

 

Part 186 newly establishes the following:

Child Performer Permit: If an employer has a Certificate of Group Eligibility, and a performer is employed as part of a group to form a background scene for example, then a performer does not need a Child Performer Permit for that performance. Permits are still required for employment in individual performances. Permit applications are processed free of charge. For a permit to be valid for paid employment, parents must attach trust account information to the child performer permit when presented to the employer.

 

The Child Performer Permit application (LS 561) now must include:                

  • a certification of physical fitness of the child performer 
  • an acknowledgement that a parent or guardian has reviewed eating disorder information via the Department's website               
  • a physical description of the performer

Responsible Person: A Responsible Person must be designated to monitor the activity and safety of each child performer under the age of 16 at the work place. A responsible person must be at least 18 years old and can be the parent/guardian of the performer. A responsible person can supervise more than one performer but for performers employed under a Certificate of Group Eligibility, one responsible person may supervise no more than 20 performers. Under certain circumstances, an employer must designate a responsible person and/or make other arrangements for the responsible person to monitor the performer. In such cases, an agreement between the parent/guardian and employer on the employer's designee should be in writing.

 

Nurse: An employer must provide a nurse (with pediatric experience), and a responsible person, for each three or fewer performers between the age of 15 days and six weeks. For child performers between six weeks and six months of age, one nurse and one responsible person must be provided for each ten or fewer infants.

 

Permitted Work Hours and Ages of Performers: Permitted work hours for child performers are based on the performer's age, and the type of performance (live or not live). It is prohibited to employ a child performer who is not at least 15 days old. Employers must provide meal periods and at least 10 minutes of the required rest time for every four hours worked. Employers must provide reasonable space for meals, rest and recreation. 

 

Education Requirements: Employers must familiarize themselves with Part 186.5, which contains new requirements related to a child performer's education and employer provided instruction. Regulations detail employer responsibilities regarding providing teachers for instruction, dedicated space for instruction, etc.

 

Health and Safety: Employers must provide safety based instruction and information to performers, parents/guardians and responsible persons. The information and orientation provided must contain specific information about potential hazards at the worksite and for the performance. Employers must obtain emergency contact information and authorization to perform emergency medical treatment for all performers. 

 

Employer Certificate of Group Eligibility: Employers may employ groups of performers under the age of 18 for no more than two days for performances such as background activity or crowd scenes. The performers of such a group do not need Child Performer Permits. Employers of groups must apply to the Department for a Certificate of Group Eligibility ( and the cost is $200.00. The Group Certificate is only valid for two days, but the days do not have to be consecutive. For performers employed under a Certificate of Group Eligibility an employer must gather and maintain information about each performer, including parental consent to perform. 

 

Recordkeeping: Employers must maintain records such as: hours worked, wages paid, trust account transfers, copies of permits and certificates, education hours, etc.   Employers must keep Employer Certificate(s) and Child Performer Permits on file, at the worksite.

Notice of Use of Child Performers: Employers of child performers must provide a "Notice of Use"  to the Department of Labor by fax, at least two business days before employment begins. This requirement does not apply to employers of groups of performers.

 

Variance Application:  Employers can apply for a variance from a specific section(s) of the Regulations if complying with a certain provision creates a hardship. Applications may be faxed, and must be sent to the Department no later than two business days prior to the day the requested changes would take effect. Applications are processed free of charge. 

 

Thank you for your dedication and support.  

 

Kelly Crisp

Founder, Child Performers Coalition

hello@childperformerscoalition.org