SAN FRANCISCO -- California Labor Commissioner Jose Millan today stated that he will seek regulations governing studio teachers that "create enhanced educational opportunities for children employed in the entertainment industry and which also ensure proper protections for the welfare of those children."
"It is apparent from both written and verbal communications that the entertainment industry, including young students, their parents, producers and teachers alike, are eminently concerned with the quality of education and supervision that its young employees receive," Millan said.
Since his appointment as Labor Commissioner for the State of California on July 22nd, Millan personally monitored and reviewed the formal comments received on regulatory proposals proffered by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). Today, August 11, is the last day that formal comments may be accepted.
"It is very clear that the interests of the children working in the entertainment industry must be protected and promoted," he said.
Millan noted that suggestions made by the Screen Actors Guild as well as suggestions from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers brought to light many of the difficulties that may be encountered by studios and directors when scheduling shoots utilizing children of varying ages.
The new regulations will require that individuals obtain both elementary and secondary school credentials before they can be certified as studio teachers. However, for those studio teachers that do not currently possess dual credentials, Millan indicated that it would be unfair to them and possibly detrimental to the children with whom they routinely work, to instantly eliminate them from the existing pool of studio teachers. "I think all would agree that these teachers should be given an opportunity to continue their employment while gaining the secondary credential," Millan said, noting that a three-year period should be sufficient to comply with the dual credential requirement, particularly in light of the more stringent academic requirements being proposed.
In three years, Millan said that DLSE would revisit the issue to assess if a sufficient pool of qualified teachers exists.
In addition to providing educational services to children, studio teachers are responsible for ensuring their welfare on the set.
"Protection of children working in an adult environment is every bit as important as imparting education," Millan said. "I feel most studio teachers, production companies and parents of child actors and models would agree, that studio teachers should be required to participate in continuing education programs that will provide them updated information on child labor laws," he noted. "In that way, they should be well versed in the laws they are expected to enforce on the set.
"At the public hearing in Los Angeles it became quite apparent from the testimony of current and former young performers that their primary goal is to receive an education that will enable them to continue on to pursue university studies," Millan said. "Perhaps by limiting certification to studio teachers with credentials in only academic subjects, we may more readily facilitate the desires of the students to be accepted for admission at college level institutions."
Following today's conclusion of the public comment period, DLSE will complete its analysis of the comments, respond to each of them and make appropriate amendments to the regulations. The amended regulations will be subject to another 15 day comment period, during which time the public will have an opportunity to voice their concerns on the proposed changes. The regulatory proposal will then be submitted to the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL), which may take up to 30 days to review the package for conformity with state law. Upon OAL approval, the regulations are filed with the Secretary of State and become effective 30 days thereafter.
"I would like to thank all of those who participated in this process for expressing their interest in the education and welfare of children working in the entertainment industry," Millan said. "We are extremely pleased to have agreement on a regulatory proposal that will meet the needs of these children."