Child Actor – California Law

Child Actor In CaliforniaGiven that minors (those under 18 years old) can also be a part of the entertainment industry, it proves worthwhile to summarize some of the protections they have in the industry, and how their work contracts recognize their age and the legal restrictions upon their working conditions.

The first, and most glaring, difference between child actors and adult actors is that minors cannot legally enter into a binding contract. If they do, so long as they remain under 18 years of age, they can decide to void the contract at any time. This proves to be a problem since all of the work done in the industry requires the proper enforcement of contracts. An exception does exist in that the minor must still follow through on necessities of the contract. Given that this poses an obstacle, California courts will provide approval of a contract involving an adult and a minor, and such approval no longer allows the minor to void the contract based on their age.

Furthermore, the minor must also receive a work permit from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. As the permit and labor laws stipulate, the child actor cannot exceed a certain time limit of being on set and working. These limits are placed based on the conditions of the work and the age of the actor. For the youngest children (younger than 6 months old, but not yet that age) they cannot stay on set for longer than 2 hours within one day. On the other end of the spectrum, children that are between 16- and 18-years-old, and have school ongoing, can only work a maximum of 6 hours at once along with other breaks for school work and rest. With regards to accommodation, the producers of the project have to ensure that the dressing rooms are not occupied by both a minor and an adult. If there are multiple minors in a dressing room, they must be of the same sex. Furthermore, if the accommodation requires overnight lodging, the parent or guardian of the minor must also be given accommodation. The same standard also applies for booking air transport for the minor and the parent/guardian.

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