HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Operators of Halloween attractions across Pennsylvania are being reminded about the state’s child labor laws and how they can avoid costly fines or even jail time.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) said that employers of these seasonal attractions who hire performers under the age of 18 must acquire special permits and follow other requirements of the Child Labor Act.
If these attractions such as haunted houses or horror scenario experiences are found to have violated the Child Labor Act, they could face administrative or criminal penalties. This includes fines of up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,500 per violation and/or up to 10 days in prison for additional violations.
According to L&I, its Bureau of Labor Law Compliance (BLLC) issues about 1,500 entertainment permits for minors each year. This starts in September and continues through December for the holiday season.
The permits require information about the child’s employment arrangement and a parent or guardian’s signature. The BLLC will not approve an entertainment permit if the performance could be dangerous or hazardous to the child.
“The Halloween season is a wonderful opportunity for young people to get some work experience, earn a paycheck and have some fun. Performance work can be theatrically scary, but it shouldn’t be dangerous; especially for children. I encourage teens, parents, employers and Halloween enthusiasts to familiarize themselves with Pennsylvania’s special protections for child performers and alert the Department if rules that protect children are being ignored,” L&I Secretary Nancy Walker said.
Any applications for entertainment permits must be submitted to L&I before the child’s first performance or rehearsal. Anyone who believes an attraction is violating any child labor laws is asked to file a complaint on L&I’s website.