Child Labor Rules for Halloween
The autumn season is nearly upon us. Soon, we will see visions of beautiful foliage, piles of leaves, Jack-o-lanterns, zombies, vampires, werewolves and mummies. Yes, autumn not only brings with it back-to-school shopping, cooler temperatures and shorter days, it also heralds the arrival of every little boil and ghouls' favorite holiday: Halloween. As you anxiously anticipate the arrival of this special spooky season, you may find yourself seeking employment at a costume shop or haunted attraction. With these types of seasonal jobs come special hazards and restrictions for employees under age 18.
Toward the end of September, many seasonal costume shops open up around the state. These shops offer a great way to earn a little bit of extra cash, and typically have short terms of employment (one or two months out of the year). They operate into the evening hours, making costume shops an attractive employment option for minors.
When working in a business after school, it is important to know the hour restrictions for minors. These rules are set in both state and federal law and will vary based upon the minor's age. For more information about the hour restrictions for minors, please visit http://www.in.gov/dol/2398.htm . Please also note that minors who work six or more consecutive hours must receive one or two breaks totaling at least 30 minutes. These breaks must be documented in a break log or otherwise noted in the minor's time punches. Documentation is required regardless of whether the breaks provided are paid or unpaid. If your business is not already documenting breaks, please see our sample break log at http://www.in.gov/dol/2400.htm .
Most of the duties one would perform in a costume shop are similar to any other retail establishment. Stocking shelves, hanging clothes and cashiering are primary parts of the costume business. There are a few duties, however, that minors may be asked to perform that are prohibited simply due to inherent dangers in the activities. For example:
- Minors under 16 may not stand on a ladder, scaffold or other similar equipment
- Minors under 16 may not wear a costume or hold a sign near a roadway to advertise a business
- Per IOSHA rules, no employee of any age may work in the right-of-way of any street without wearing proper protective equipment (i.e. a Class-3 reflective safety vest)
- Minors under 16 may not peddle goods or services door to door or in any public place other than the employer's place of business
- Minors under 18 may not operate powered woodworking or metalforming tools including powered saws, sanders, drills, screwdrivers, etc.
A complete listing of hazardous and prohibited occupations may be found online at http://www.in.gov/dol/2741.htm .
Minors under 14 may only work as farm laborers (over 12), domestic service workers (babysitters), golf caddies, newspaper carriers, actors, performers and models. Even if the business is owned by a parent, minors are forbidden to work in any but these occupations.
Haunted attractions offer a number of different duties for its employees including parking cars, taking tickets, selling concessions and acting in the attraction itself. With these varied duties come increased responsibilities and new hazards.
Haunted attractions are typically open on the weekends and often operate well into the night. It is important to ensure that employers and employees alike are well aware of the documentation required and the hour restrictions for the minors working in the attraction.
Rules for Haunted Attractions
If a minor is not working as an actor or performer in a haunted attraction, that minor is expected to follow all applicable Child Labor laws including obtaining a work permit, documenting breaks and maintaining the correct work hours for the minor's age. You can find more about these topics on our Frequently Asked Questions page at http://www.in.gov/dol/2398.htm p>
Please also note that minors who work six or more consecutive hours must receive one or two breaks totaling at least 30 minutes. These breaks must be documented in a break log or otherwise noted in the minor's time punches. Documentation is required regardless of whether the breaks provided are paid or unpaid. If your business is not already documenting breaks, please see our sample break log at http://www.in.gov/dol/2400.htm.
Minors working in support positions in a haunted attraction may not work in any of the prohibited or hazardous occupations as defined by state and federal law. A list of these restricted activities may be found online at http://www.in.gov/dol/2741.htm . Please also ensure that minors working around vehicles or in parking lots are wearing reflective gear so that they may be seen easily in dark conditions.
Actors and Performers
Perhaps one of the most important distinctions to make when working in a haunted attraction is the definition of an "actor or performer." It has been the Indiana Department of Labor's interpretation for the past few years that minors acting or performing in a haunted attraction are considered actors and, as such, are exempt from most Indiana Child Labor laws. Actors and performers are not subject to the hour restrictions, are not required to receive a break and are exempt from obtaining work permits. Minors under 16 must be accompanied by a parent to all performances and rehearsals. If a parent is not present, a minor under 16 should be treated as a traditional employee and should follow all applicable Child Labor laws.
If the minor's performance is found to be detrimental to the minor's health or well-being, this exemption does not apply. Such detrimental duties would include jumping from a high place, operating a chain saw (even if the blade is missing or disengaged) and operating farm machinery in proximity to patrons or other employees. These are only a few examples and should not be considered a complete listing of all potentially hazardous duties. For a listing of duties the United States Department of Labor has deemed hazardous, please visit http://www.in.gov/dol/2741.htm and remember, if it looks unsafe, it probably is unsafe.
Our interpretation of the terms "actor" and "performer" does not include parking attendants, maintenance crews, pneumatics operators, lighting technicians, ticket takers, ushers, security guards or concessionaires. It applies solely to minors acting or performing in the haunted attraction. If a minor works part-time as an actor and part-time in another role, the minor will be expected to follow all applicable Child Labor laws when not performing or acting.
Minors under 14 may only work as actors, performers, models, farm laborers (over 12), domestic service workers (babysitters), golf caddies and newspaper carriers. Even if the business is owned by a parent, minors are forbidden to work in any but these occupations. Minors under 16 who are working as actors, performers or models must be accompanied by a parent to all performances and rehearsals.