On June 12, 2013, the modeling industry experienced an epic milestone with New York lawmakers having voted unanimously to pass a law recognizing models under the age of 18 as child performers, and extending to them the same protections as actors, dancers, and musicians under the age of 18. The bill, which is currently awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, expands the current definition of “artistic and creative services” to include “the services of runway and print models.” In addition, it repeals section 35.05 of the New York Arts & Cultural Affairs Law because that section’s narrow definition of a child performer excluded child models.

Here’s how the child model landscape will be impacted:

  1. Chaperone. Models under 16 will have to be accompanied by a chaperone.
  2. Permits & Certificates. Minor models will be required to obtain a permit. In addition, their “employers” would be required to obtain a general certificate of eligibility to employ them. How the DOL will address the concept of “employment” as it relates to the modeling industry remains a mystery given that models have customarily been deemed independent contractors.
  3. Working hours. Continued restriction of child models’ work hours based on their age, along with meal periods, rest time, and reasonable space for meals, rest and recreation.
  4. Nurse. Child models would enjoy the legal mandate that a nurse with pediatric experience be provided for them.
  5. Educational Requirements. Child models would be afforded teachers and dedicated learning space.
  6. Health & Safety. Child models would be entitled to a healthy and safe environment.
  7. Trust accounts. Child models would enjoy the requisite mandate that a minimum, 15% of the child’s gross earnings be maintained in a separate, restricted banking account.
  8. Recordkeeping. Required maintenance of records including hours worked, wages paid, trust account transfers, copies of permits and certificates, education hours, etc. Failure to comply will result in penalties consisting of $1,000 for the 1st violation, $2,000 for the 2nd, and $3,000 for the 3rd or subsequent violation.

Seeking an alternative to compliance? Hire models who are at least 18 where possible.