Young People in Entertainment Frequently Asked Questions
The British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulation sets out minimum employment conditions for all employees covered under provincial labour laws. There are special rules that apply to young people under 15 years of age employed as actors or extras in the entertainment industry and their employers in British Columbia.
The employer must have the written consent of the young actor's parent or guardian.
A parent or guardian is responsible for their child and must determine that the employment situation meets the best interests of the child and will not adversely affect the child's social, physical or educational needs.
The employer must have on record the parent or guardian's written consent indicating the young person's date of birth and that the parent or guardian knows where the child is working, the hours of work and the type of work.
The regulations outline employment conditions specific to young people in the entertainment industry.
Young people who work outside the film industry are typically over 12 years old, working after school or during school vacation, in the service or agricultural industry. They are often employed by their own family. The job is usually long-term and for one employer.
There are regulations that outline employment conditions specific to these young employees. By contrast, children working in the entertainment industry may be as young as 15 days old. They may work for a number of employers and they may work during school hours.
The legislation provides for escalating penalties of $500, $2500 and $10,000 for any contravention of the Act and Regulations.
The nature and history of the film and television industry has led almost all jurisdictions to put rules in place to look after the financial interests of young actors.
Unlike most other employment relationships, young actors may be very young and may have substantial earnings. It is also not uncommon for a young actor's earnings to be paid to someone other than the performer.
The law and the courts have recognized for many years that children's financial rights are independent of their parents and families. Because children cannot legally enter into contracts, someone else usually has to manage the child's income for them.
The figure of twenty-five percent is based on Canadian and U.S. case law related to employment contracts for children. In some cases the courts have ordered a larger percentage be held in trust where it is in the best interests of the child.
There are some provisions within the regulations that allow the Director to grant prior approval to vary the hours of work. Generally, permission would only be granted under special circumstances that include location availability, early morning or late night exteriors, or live television productions presented after the prescribed hours.