Rules of the Road for Young Performers in New York (Part 1)

If your child actor is in a New York state of mind, understand that there are laws in place that govern minors working in the entertainment industry. Before your young performer takes a bite of the Big Apple, let’s brush up on some of the unique laws designed to protect them in the state that’s home to the entertainment capital of the East Coast. It starts in somewhat unglamorous fashion with paperwork.

First and foremost, all performers under age 18 are required to have a free Child Performer Permit. This applies to any minor (paid or unpaid)

“…who renders creative or artistic services in New York State as a performer or; any New York resident under the age of 18 who renders creative or artistic services anywhere outside New York State." (Source: New York State Depart of Labor)

The Child Performer Permit requirement does not apply to amateur performances at churches, schools, libraries, or similar institutions.

For the child performer’s financial protection, New York State Law requires parents or guardians to establish a Child Performer Trust Account. After the trust account is set up, parents or guardians work with employers to ensure that 15 % of the performer’s gross earnings are placed in the account. If the trust account is not set up, then the employer is required to deposit 15% of the child’s earnings into a holding account with the state, and the New York Department of Labor will not renew the child performer’s permit to work.

Last--but certainly not least--New York laws take the health of child performers seriously. The Child Performer Health Form must be submitted by parents or guardians (along with the Application for a Child Performer Permit) to prove that a child is physically able to work as a performer. The physical examination must have occurred within 12 months of the Child Performer Permit Application date of filing and be completed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or school health professional.

Once the paperwork is out of the way, your young actor is ready to hit the boards. But in addition to concentrating on their stage presence, the state expects young performers to polish their academic performance as well. Our next post will discuss New York’s educational requirements for child actors.

For forms and more information about New York State laws governing child performers, visit: