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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38577
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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When employing child performers in California I understand

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When employing child performers in California I understand that there are limits to how many hours a child can work and can be on-set. These laws require the amount of schooling that must be provided to children if they are of school age and working during school days. Must a minor child be paid for the hours of rest/recreation or schooling that would be required by law? or only for hours performing work?

Minors are not required to be paid while attending school. However, as a practical matter, most performing arts employment contracts pay wages much greater than minimum wage, and are not based upon hourly pay, but rather upon exempt salary provisions, which require the same pay each day, regardless of the number of hours worked. So, while a minor is not entitled to pay while attending school, the studio employer is usually paying a fixed salary for the child's entire day, regardless of what he or she is doing.

Also, in circumstances where the child is not attending school, a "studio teacher" is required to be "on set" for tutoring purposes, so, the employer is paying for the teacher, even if not paying for the performer.

A comprehensive discussion is available on this subject from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. If you would like directions to receive this publication, please let me know and I will be happy to provide.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your help. So chances are our employees, will be paid a fixed daily rate anyway. If for whatever reason it was an hourly rate I just wanted to clarify, even if they were "on-set" for a certain length of time, some of which could include tutoring or rest/recreation time, if they were not actually "working" those hours they would not have to be paid an hourly rate for them?

That's correct. A minor is only paid for the hours worked, if being paid hourly, rather than as a salary-exempt professional. However, the employer must provide additional "rest and recreation" time, the amount determined by the child's age. And, where a minor is being tutored "on-set," it is arguable that the minor may be under the control of the employer sufficient to require wage payment, though it's important to understand only when a performer is actually being filmed can it be absolutely stated that the performer is "working." At other times, the issue devolves into a factual inquiry as to what sort of control the employer is exercising.


DLSE Opinion Letter 2003.02.25 provides a useful discussion of the issue -- however, it is anything but black and white.

Hope this helps.

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