In the entertainment industry, a minor’s work permit is a legal document for minors under 18 years of age. It is required in most states that have a relatively large representation of film or TV productions taking place there, mainly Georgia, California, New York, and Louisiana. Permits are issued by the DLSE (the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement) through the Department of Industrial Relations. An entertainment work permit can be thought of as a work-visa for minors who intend on working in the entertainment industry.
The entertainment industry is defined by the following: motion pictures of any type, in any format, using any medium (i.e. film or videotape; theatrical film, commercial, documentary, television program, etc...), photography, recording, modeling, theatrical productions, publicity, rodeos, circuses, musical performances and any other performance for public entertainment. Therefore, if you plan on hiring a minor to work on any project of this nature, you will be required to make sure a minor’s work permit is in order.
Every minor currently working or with the intent of working in the entertainment industry needs a permit. A minor's guardian* must apply and obtain an entertainment work permit before they begin working. Minors who travel to California or one of the other major filming states from another state, or country, also need to submit an application and receive a work permit to work in the entertainment field while in those states. The same goes for minors who are California residents and are hired to work in filming/entertainment work that will travel them outside of California.
*(minors between 16-17 can apply for their own permit)
There are two types of entertainment work permits for minors.
Temporary permits are one-time permits for first-time applicants only. Guardians of minors interested in working in the entertainment industry can apply online, and if granted, these permits are valid for 10 days. A 10-day temporary entertainment work permit is meant for a minor who is exploring working in the entertainment industry. After having a 10-day temporary permit, if the minor decides to continue to work in the entertainment industry, the guardian must apply and receive an Entertainment Work Permit for the minor from then on.
Once granted, an entertainment work permit is valid for six months and must be renewed every six-months to be kept current. Minor’s guardians can apply for an entertainment work permit by filling out the application on the DLSE website. The DLSE suggests that renewal applications be submitted approximately six weeks before a current permit expires to allow time for processing.
These work permits are legal documents that aim to protect the child from being exploited, overworked, and put in unsafe working conditions. They stipulate rules that all productions must follow, such as how many hours a child can work before requiring a break, access to food and water, access to restrooms and shade or heat, total work hours allowed in a 24 hour period, what time work can start and must end, and much more. Many of these rules change with the age of the child.
During a busy day on set, these important details can easily stack up and cause unneeded stress. Aware of what it’s like, Castifi has safe-guard alerts implemented into the platform to notify production crews when a minor is about to run out of time on set.
To implement this feature, go to a project's settings and toggle on minor notifications. You will be asked to input the following information.
Once completed, the necessary crew members will receive a notification in the form of a text and/or email. At the appropriate times, production will receive a message along the lines of:
"[minor's name] pumpkins: must be wrapped in 1 hour."
In addition to procuring a work permit, productions are required to provide a studio teacher/welfare worker to monitor the health, welfare, and safety of a working minors for every day a minor(s) is employed, regardless of if school is in session or not in the following quantities:
Castifi is currently working to build a workflow that would allow parents to apply for work permits directly through the platform. A minor’s work permit provides documented proof for productions, producers, studio teachers/welfare workers, and the State’s government stating that the named minor is legally permitted to work in the entertainment industry, and it is our goal is to make it easy for both parents and productions to make sure they are properly prepared for everyday of production.
First, an application must be filled out by the minor's legal guardian and submitted to the DLSE for approval. The "Application for Permission to Work in the Entertainment Industry" can be retrieved from any Division and Labor Standards Enforcement office or online.
The application will ask for the following:
After the application is submitted the DLSE will process it, if the application is incomplete the DLSE will notify the guardian to make any necessary corrections and re-apply. The DLSE may not approve an entertainment work permit application if a minor is deemed in poor physical or academic standing. The guardian and minor need to address those concerns and re-apply once they have been rectified.
Once the application has been filled out, received, and approved, the information on the application form will be used to populate the minor’s work permit.
It can take up to 3 weeks for a work permit to get processed. The DLSE website states that permits will be processed within 3 days then mailed to the minor. These are important timelines to keep in mind as this process needs to be completed every six months if reapplying for a minor’s work permit as previously stated above.
When received, the front of an entertainment work permit will have the state seal, permit effective dates, minors name, minors information and the signature of the Labor Commissioner for the state.
When a minor books a job, their guardian should send a picture of the permit to the production in advance. The guardian and minor must also bring the original copy of the permit with them on the first day, as well as every single day of work and show the permit to the studio teacher/welfare worker. The studio teacher/welfare worker is required to sign the back of each day’s entertainment work permit noting the dates of work, name of the production company, title of the job, and their signature. This acts as a record of work the minor does during the valid dates of the permit, as well as proof the production provided a studio teacher/welfare worker for the minor during production.
The employment of minors in the entertainment industry is treated very seriously by states that see a lot of filming. Only a few circumstances exempt minors from obtaining an entertainment work permit or requiring the oversight of a studio teacher/welfare worker. If a minor has graduated from High School and has a High School Diploma or a GED they do not need an entertainment work permit nor do they require a studio teacher/welfare worker. In all other circumstances, non-union, low-budget, even for student films - for health, welfare, and safety purposes - it is required that working minors have an entertainment work permit and be monitored by a studio teacher/welfare worker.
Beyond simply getting hired, paying minors comes with its own challenges. Castifi’s platform aims to make it easy for productions to handle the details of any project and that is no exception when it comes to hiring, working with, and paying minors.
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