News & Resources

CLIENT ALERT: New York State Extends Labor Law Protections to Child Models

November 2013

New York State recently extended the protections afforded to child performers under New York’s labor laws to child models.  Backed by the efforts of the not-for-profit organization the Model Alliance, State Senators Jeffrey Klein and Diane Savino, and Assemblyman Steven Otis, introduced the legislation, which passed the State Senate and Assembly unanimously on June 12, 2013.  The new law, which goes into effect on November 20, 2013 (30 days after Governor Andrew Cuomo’s bill signing), aims to protect child models in accordance with all other child entertainers in New York, including actors, dancers, musicians and singers.  Businesses that engage the services of print or runway models under the age of 18 in New York State will need to comply with this new law.

In general, the employer’s responsibilities under the law include: obtaining an employer certificate of eligibility; submitting a notice of use to the NYS Labor Commissioner when engaging a minor (at least two business days prior to each engagement); transferring at least 15% of the minor’s income to a trust account; in certain circumstances, providing tutors and a work space for the young models; maintaining proper records, permits and certificates on file; obtaining emergency contact information and authorization to perform emergency medical treatment from the minor’s parent or guardian; designating a responsible person(s) as required for minors under the age of 16; providing meal and rest breaks, and abiding by permitted working hours for minors; and providing health and safety information to minors, parents or guardians, and responsible people.

Under this legislation, an employer is considered to be any person or entity that employs a child performer in New York to furnish artistic or creative services, including modeling, directly or through a third party provider, or through an agency or service that provides artistic or creative services (i.e., a casting agency).  All employers will need to obtain certificates of eligibility, irrespective of whether the minor receives compensation.  Certificates are renewable every three years, and must be renewed 30 days prior to their expiration.  Further, out-of-state employers that engage a minor who is a New York resident must apply for a certificate of eligibility if the engagement is to take place in New York.  If the engagement takes place outside of New York, no certificate is required, but if the employer has an office in New York and the minor is a New York resident, the employer must abide by the trust and education provisions of the legislation.

Employers that violate provisions of the legislation may have their employer certificates suspended or revoked.  The NYS Labor Commissioner may additionally assess civil penalties, not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second, and $3,000 for the third and any subsequent violation(s).

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If you would like more information or need guidance on this new legislation, or have any questions, please contact an Olshan attorney in one of the practice areas identified.

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