Expanded State Approval Powers Over “Baby” Entertainers

California has long regulated the “employment” of infants in the movies. Labor Code 1308.8  bans babies under 15-days old while requiring physician certification for our “older” new arrivals (aged 15-days to “under one month”) to work on any “motion picture set or location.”

Beginning January, 2020, Assembly Bill (AB) 267 will apply such “micro-age” prohibition and certification standards to the entire “entertainment industry,” now defined (new Labor Code 1286(f)) in this digital age as:

  • motion pictures of any type and format (for example, “theatrical film, commercial, documentary, or television program”) and by any medium (e.g., theater, commercial or videocassette), plus
  • “photography;
  • “recording;
  • “modeling;
  • “theatrical productions;
  • “publicity;
  • rodeos;
  • circuses;
  • “musical performances;
  • “advertising; and
  • “any other performances where a minor performs to entertain the public” (emphasis supplied).

This broader “entertainment industry” scope understandably applies to the labor regulation of all minors under age 18. Yet, read literally, the expanded definition means that no precocious newborns two-weeks old or younger may bull ride (rodeo) or swallow swords (circus), period. Other babies not yet a month-old could in theory do so, but would require written certification from “a licensed physician or surgeon who is board-certified in either pediatrics or family medicine.”

Perhaps slightly more to the point is the uncertainty of just how far this Labor Code ban and written certification requirement applies to newborns engaged in “photography…modeling…and any other performances where a minor performs to entertain the public.” Would that not be every such baby picture and video posted on Facebook, Instagram and any other social media medium?

For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Tim Bowles

November 15, 2019

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