New York legislators voted unanimously to pass a law to protect underaged models today. The bill, which was proposed by Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein and State Senate Labor Committee Chairwoman Diane Savino, recognizes models as child performers, affording them the same protections actors, dancers, and musicians under the age of 18 have enjoyed for quite awhile. The very newly passed law adds “print and runway models” to the list of performers covered by strict Department of Labor regulations to protect individuals under the age of 18. In addition to NY lawmakers, the Model Alliance, a non-union organization that works to improve working conditions for fashion models, played an enormous role in the introduction and passage of the bill.
The law will require design houses that want to use models under age 18 to apply for a certificate to work with them and will be forced to keep careful records of all minors they work with should the Department of Labor inquire. Violations will result in fines — up to $1,000 for the first offense, and $2,000 to $3,000 for second and third offenses. That’s not a lot for a big fashion brand, but the publicity they’d get for violating child labor laws would be much more damaging.
The Model Alliance has released the following statement: "FOLKS, IT'S OFFICIAL: OUR BILL PASSED BOTH THE SENATE AND THE ASSEMBLY! IT'S BECOMING LAW!! WE DID IT!!! We are especially grateful to Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, Senator Diane J. Savino and Assemblyman Steve Otis for their support! Thank you!"