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Child Labor Laws

Overview

The Child Labor Law regulates the employment of workers under 16 years of age. The law protects children by:
  • Requiring Minor Employment Certificates. The certificate confirms that a minor is old enough to work, physically capable to perform the job, and that the job will not interfere with the minor's education;
  • Prohibiting work in hazardous occupations; and
  • Limiting working hours. All work before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. is prohibited. However, work until 9 p.m. is allowed from June 1 through Labor Day.
     

Minor Employment Certificates

All children under the age of 16 are considered minors in the state of Illinois and are required by law to obtain a Minor Employment Certificate prior to working on a motion picture, television show, commercial, music video, or any other film or video related production activity.  Without exception, children who are residents of other states must obtain an Illinois Minor Employment Certificate while working in Illinois.  The certificate must be obtained prior to the minor’s employment and is valid for one year. 
 

Work Rules

When school is in session, children 14 and 15 years of age may work:
  • Up to 3 hours per day;
  • Up to 24 hours per week; and
  • The combined hours of school and work may not exceed 8 hours per day.
When school is NOT in session (including summer vacations, holidays and weekends), children under the age of 16 may NOT work:
  • More than 8 hours per day;
  • More than 6 days per week; nor
  • More than 48 hours per week.
Allowed hours of work are 7am to 7pm except between June 1st and Labor Day, when working hours may be extended to 9 PM.  A scheduled meal period of at least 30 minutes shall be provided no later than the 5th consecutive hour of work.
 
Employers of minors shall post a schedule stating the hours of work and time of the lunch period. The employer shall also furnish any minor with a statement describing the specific nature of the work to be performed and the hour and days the minor is to work. The minor must present this statement to the issuing officer at the minor’s school (or the school district if the child has not yet been enrolled in school) along with a copy of minor’s birth certificate. The minor must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
 
When both the Illinois Child Labor Law and Fair Labor Standards Act provisions cover the establishment, the stricter of the two laws will prevail.
No minor shall perform any stunts, unusual athletic or acrobatic activity unless the minor and the parent/guardian represent that the minor is capable of performing such activity and the parent/guardian gives prior consent in writing.  No minor shall be required to work in any hazardous situation that places them in a clear and present danger to life and limb, regardless of any parental consent. 
For more information about work hours and hazardous activities please see Child Labor Law Compliance
 

Waivers

A waiver may be obtained for filming activity after 7 PM from Labor Day to June 1, and after 9 PM from June 1 to Labor Day. 

The form must be completed and signed by the parent/guardian and submitted either by fax #312-814-1210 or to the address below by 12 PM on the day of filming.  In the event of weekend filming, the application must be submitted by 12 PM on the Friday.
 
Illinois Department of Labor
Fair Labor Standards Division
Compliance Processing Section
160 N. LaSalle Street, Suite C-1300
Chicago, IL 60601
Fax: 312-814-1210
 
If you have additional questions please contact the Illinois Department of Labor #312-793-2804.