Child actors and background performers – even show business babies – are eligible to receive enhanced unemployment benefits if their shows were shuttered or canceled because of the coronavirus shutdown, a spokesperson for the state’s Employment Development Department told Deadline on Thursday.
In California, they can receive as much as much as $1,050 a week. The entertainment and modeling industries are the only businesses in America in which toddlers can be legally employed.
“Per California Unemployment Insurance Code section 1340, there is no age cutoff to receive UI benefits,” the EDD spokesperson said.
SAG-AFTRA, meanwhile, put out a long list of safety tips for young performers today to protect them from contracting the virus. Film and TV production is still on lockdown across the country, but commercials and animation voice-over projects are still hiring.
The safety tips for kids and their parents include the usual suggestions on hand-washing and social distancing, but other helpful hints include:
• Carry your own pen so you can sign paperwork.
• When allowable, get your own food and water from craft services and/or the lunch line, and social distance from others while dining.
• Bring your own makeup brush or sponges.
• Bring wipes for your trailer or work space door handle and/or frequently touched surfaces.
• Do not eat unpackaged foods that others may have touched unless it is fruit or vegetables that can be washed in soapy water.
• Wipe down any props before and after you use them.
• Background performers should refrain, if possible, from eating/drinking prop food/drinks and ensure that bottles, glasses, plates and utensils have been properly sanitized by the prop department.
See all the guild’s safety tips for young performers here.