Appointment of a “Responsible Person” Will Increase Production Costs & Endanger Child Performs
186-4.6, “Provision for a responsible person,” fails to provide for the safety of the child performer. Under this new language, the production company is under no legal obligation to provide the parent with “sight and sound” access (SAG Rule) to their child over the age of six and can appoint a “responsible person” to supervise the child without criminal background checks or adhering to the “sight and sound” rule. Hiring and vetting one or more “responsible persons” will increase production costs.
- When a child performer is less than six years old: “the employer shall allow a parent or guardian to accompany the child performer at all times at the workplace.” When a child performer is over the age of six: “the employer may permit the parent, guardian or responsible person of a child performer to be within sight or sound of the child performer . . .”
- “No employer shall employ a child performer unless such employer has designated one or more individuals to serve as a responsible person to supervise the child performer and ensure that the employer acts in the child performer’s interests . . .” “[u]pon mutual agreement [the employer may designate] the parent(s) or guardian(s) of such child performer . . . as the responsible person for his or her own child . . .”
- “Such responsible person shall not be assigned any other duty by the employer that interferes with the responsible person’s duties to the child performers.”
Why This Provision Will Increase Production Costs
Employers choosing to deny a child performer over six years of age access to their parent must appoint a “responsible person” to supervise that child. To mitigate liability and protect the safety of child performers, it is clear that “responsible person[s]” must be vetted. Although most child sex predators do not have a criminal history, common sense would dictate, and production attorneys would require criminal background, fingerprinting, & reference checks for all production staff who may work as a “responsible person.” Assuming complete custody and control of a minor increases production liability and will therefore increase production insurance costs.
Why This Provision Endangers The Safety Of Child Performers
This new rule allows production companies the exclusive right to deny children six and older access to their parent. The obvious change in language from “shall allow” (under six) to “may permit” (over six) must be viewed as an intentional attempt on the part of production companies to deny a child performer their right to physical and mental well being protection by their parent.
Instead, at the discretion of the employer, a “responsible person” can be designated to assume responsibility for the child. The provision fails to:
- mandate criminal background, fingerprinting, & reference checks for “responsible person[s]”
- define what qualifications this “responsible person” should possess
- define how many children this “responsible person” will supervise or the age(s) of the child
- mandate that the “responsible person” be within “sight and sound” of each child
- materially define what other roles this “responsible person” can assume
Under an Employer Certificate of Group Eligibility, an employer who employs twenty children shall designate at least one “responsible person” with no provision for the ages to which the “Group” provision applies, no mention of “sight and sound” or the working conditions under which this applies.