Contact: Trevor Monk, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harrisburg – With the spooky season upon us, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is reminding operators of Halloween-themed attractions that they must adhere to all requirements of the Child Labor Act – including special permits -- if they employ performers under 18 years old.
Pennsylvania's Child Labor Act, enforced by L&I's Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (BLLC), protects the health, safety, and welfare of minors employed in the Commonwealth by limiting employment in certain establishments and occupations, restricting the hours of work, regulating work conditions, and requiring work permits for children hired to fill a position. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal child labor law, also applies in Pennsylvania. Where the laws overlap, the most protective standard applies.
Children employed as performers are subject to special protections under state law. Most notably, employers of child performers must apply for entertainment permits on behalf of each child performer – including those who perform live at Halloween-themed attractions. BLLC approves permits that meet the requirements of the Act.
"The Halloween season is a wonderful opportunity for young people to get some work experience, earn a paycheck and have some fun. Performance work can be theatrically scary, but it shouldn't be dangerous -- especially for children. I encourage teens, parents, employers and Halloween enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania's special protections for child performers and alert the Department if rules that protect children are being ignored," L&I Secretary Nancy A. Walker said.
Each year, BLLC issues about 1,500 entertainment permits, typically starting in September for the Halloween season and continuing through December for the holiday season. The permits require information about the child's employment arrangement and a parent or guardian's signature. BLLC does not approve permits for performances that are potentially dangerous or hazardous to the child's well-being, which includes acrobatic acts and dangerous activities involving speed, height, and a high level of physical exertion of stunts.
Employers should submit applications to BLLC before the child employee's first performance or rehearsal. A school official must complete the section applicable to performing or rehearsing during school hours. Applications can be submitted by mail to the Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (651 Boas Street, Room 1301, Harrisburg, PA 17121-0750) or by email at email@example.com. Employers are also welcome to email their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-932-0665.
Violations of the Child Labor Act may be punishable by either administrative or criminal penalties. Criminal penalties could include fines of up to $500 for first violations, and up to $1,500 per violation and/or up to 10 days of imprisonment for subsequent violations. Administrative penalties may include fines of up to $5,000 per violation and corrective action orders to violating parties.
L&I's Bureau of Labor Law Compliance responds to all complaints filed by members of the public who suspect violations of the Child Labor Act and other Pennsylvania labor laws. Anyone can file a complaint on L&I's website using an online submission form.
For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, please visit the website or follow L&I on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.