California Child Labor Laws – Entertainment Industry


California child labor laws allow youth of almost any age to work in the entertainment industry subject to several restrictions and limitations. The restrictions and limitations on child labor in California in the entertainment industry are discussed below.




Definition of entertainment industry

California child labor laws define the entertainment industry as “any organization, or individual, using the services of any minor in: motion pictures of any type (film, videotape, etc.), using any format (theatrical, film, commercial documentary, television program, etc.), by any medium (theater, television, videocassette, etc.); photography; recording; modeling; theatrical productions; publicity; rodeos; circuses; musical performances; and any other performances; and any other performances where minors perform to entertain the public.” 8 CCR 11751



Employer’s permission to employ minors

California child labor laws requires entertainment industry employers who wish to employ youth under the age of 18 to obtain permission to employ the minors from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for any of the following:

  • a youth in the presentation of a drama, legitimate play, or in any radio broadcasting or television studio
  • employment of a youth that is at least 12 years old in any other performance, concert, or entertainment
  • employment of a youth that is at least 8 years old in any performance, concert, or entertainment during public school vacation
  • employment of a youth in any entertainment that is noncommercial in nature
  • employment of a youth in making phonographic recordings
  • employment of a youth as an advertising or photographic model
  • employment of a youth to appear pursuant to a contract approved under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 6750) of Part 3 of Division 11 of the Family Code

CA Labor Code 1308.5; 8 CCR 11751

Applications for permission to employ minor in the entertainment industry may be downloaded from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s website.



Youth’s permit to work

California child labor laws require youth under the age of 18 to obtain a permit to work from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement before they may work in the entertainment industry. 8 CCR 11753 Youth may apply for an entertainment work permit on-line at the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement’s website.



Hours of work

California child labor laws set the amount of time youth are permitted to work and remain at the place of employment within a 24 hour period based on age, as follows:

  • children who are at least 15 days old but are not yet 6 months old may remain at the place of employment for a maximum of 2 hours and:
    • may only work for up to 20 minutes in a day
    • may not be exposed to light of greater than 100 foot candlelight intensity for more than 30 seconds at a time
    • a nurse and a studio teacher must be provided for each 3 or fewer babies who are between 15 days old and 6 weeks old and for each 10 or fewer infants who 6 weeks old to 6 months old
  • youth who are at least 6 months old but are not yet 2 years old may remain at the place of employment for a maximum of four 4 hours per day and may work for no more than 2 hours, with the remaining amount of time spent either in rest and recreation
  • youth who are at least 2 years old but are not yet 6 years old may remain at the place of employment for a maximum of 6 hours and may work no more than 3 hours, with the remaining amount of time being spent in rest, recreation, and/or education
  • youth who are at least 6 years old but but are not yet 9 years old may remain at the place of employment for a maximum of 8 hours per day and:
    • when school is in session, may work no more than 4 hours, with at least 3 hours of the remaining time being spent in schooling and at least 1 hour spent in rest and recreation
    • when school is not in session, may work no more than 6 hours, with 1 hour of rest and recreation
  • youth who are at least 9 years old but are not yet 16 years old may remain at the place of employment for a maximum of nine 9 hours per day and:
    • when school is in session, may work no more than 5 hours, with at least 3 hours of the remaining time being spent in schooling and at least 1 hour spent in rest and recreation
    • when school is not in session, may work no more than 7 hours, with 1 hour of rest and recreation
  • youth who are at least 16 years old but are not yet 18 years old may remain at the place of employment for a maximum of 10 hours per day and:
    • when school is in session, may work no more than 6 hours, with at least 3 hours of the remaining time being spent in schooling and at least 1 hour in rest and recreation
    • when school is not in session, may work no more than 8 hours, with 1 hour spent in rest and recreation
    • when permission has been obtain for the youth to work during school hours for a period not to exceed 2 consecutive day, may work for no more than 8 hours

8 CCR 11760

If emergency situations arise where an entertainment industry employer needs a minor work beyond the permissible work hours, they may submit a request to the Labor Commissioner for a variance at least 48 hours prior to the time it is needed. 8 CCR 11760(g)

At least 12 hours must elapse between the employer dismisses a minor from work for a day and the time the youth must return the following day. If the minor’s regular school starts less than 12 hours after his or her dismissal time, the minor must be schooled at the employer’s place of business the following day. 8 CCR 11760(i)



Daily work time for infants

Under California child labor laws, infants under the age of 6 months may only work between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 11: 30 a.m. or between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. 8 CCR 11764



Work time

Time spent by minors at home on make-up and hairdressing with the assistance of make-up person or hairdresser counts as work time. Additionally, make-up persons and hairdressers may not begin work on minors before 8:30 a.m. 8 CCR 11763



Meal breaks

Entertainment industry employers may extend the hours of work listed above for youth for up to 1/2 hour per day for purposes of providing a meal break. 8 CCR 11761