On November 20, a new law New York State law will go into effect that qualifies and protects child (defined as anyone under the age of 18) print and runway models as “child performers”.
So what does this mean for a fashion designer using “young” talent?
Even if you are not paying your models a traditional fee, you are still affected by this new law. According to Wendy Stryker, who is Counsel, Executive Compensation and Employment Group at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC (a law firm who has a specialization in entertainment and media law) “I think that the new law is at odds with any practice of having models work for merchandise or experience. It makes clear that employers using print and runway models who live or work in New York must comply with the permit, trust account and other provisions. This will place additional administrative and financial burdens on all employers, and particularly on those without staff who are equipped to deal with the new paperwork. “
For a lot of you this new law will present a huge headache when planning to present new lines. When you plan for your next runway show, trunk show, catalog, look book etc. check out the age of the models you plan to use and make sure you are in compliance with the law. If you violate the law and are caught, your permit could be suspended and you could pay a fine of $1,000 for the first time you are caught, $2,000 for the second and so on. Make sure you are in compliance by checking out your specific situation with your attorney or you can ask Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some more of the basic parts of this rule concerning the new law. For more information contact your attorney or Wendy.
Permits: Employers must now apply for and obtain a general Employer Certificate of Eligibility from the New York State Department of Labor before they employ any child performers. Employers must also verify that all child performers they employ have a valid employment permit from educational authorities such as a superintendent of schools as well as a certificate of physical fitness. All certificates and permits must be available at all times for inspection by authorized entities. At least two days before employing a child model, employers must also file a Notice of Use with the Department of Labor advising of their intent to employ child performers. Notice of Use forms can be found http://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/LS556.pdf?utm_source=11.5.13+Fashion+Law+Alert&utm_campaign=11.6.2013+Fashion+Alert&utm_medium=email.
For purposes of the new law, a “child performer’s employer” will be considered a person or entity that employs a child model either directly, or through an agency or loan-out company.
Parent or Guardian: Child models must now have a designated responsible person on set at all times (for performers under age 16) or a nurse (for infants).
Trust Accounts: Prior to the first instance of employment, the Department of Labor requires that a child performer’s parent or guardian establish a child performer trust account. Employers must deposit at least 15% of the child’s gross earnings into this trust account. Trust accounts may be set up anywhere, so long as they meet the New York State requirements, or are a California “Coogan” type account.
Limited Work Hours: Under the existing child performer regulations, child performers are limited to restricted working hours based on age and school attendance. A chart summarizing the permitted working hours can be found http://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/LS559.pdf?utm_source=11.5.13+Fashion+Law+Alert&utm_campaign=11.6.2013+Fashion+Alert&utm_medium=email.
Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.