All states regulate employment for children, whether they are actors or not. States must pass their own child entertainment laws to protect young entertainers working in movies, television shows or commercials. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 for minimum wage, overtime, work hours and other conditions does not apply to child performers.
Several states have no laws to protect child performers. About half the states require work permits for child performers, and some require work permits only for kids under age 14 or 16.
Some states have laws that simply require a young performer to get consent from the state labor commissioner. Other states have more extensive laws that set limits on the hours per day and week a child performer may work, how long a minor can be kept on set and how often they must have a break.
Taking care of a work permit before your child starts auditioning will save you a lot of stress. If your child lands a job where shooting begins the next day and you need a work permit quickly, some states will allow you to sign up for a Temporary Work Permit.
Your local Department of Labor can provide more information about the laws where you live. For a rundown of child work regulations by state, you can visit U.S. Department of Labor Child Entertain Laws.
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