Encourage Strict Labor Protections for Under Models

Runway Model

Target: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Goal: Regulate use of underage models in New York and offer them protection under the Department of Labor

Recently, the New York State Legislature proposed a bill that would offer increased labor protections for underage models. Many models in New York, arguably the fashion capital of the United States, begin their careers before they have reached the legal age of 18. According to the New York Times, some runway models are as young as 13 or 14 years old. Despite the fact that the Department of Education claims to offer certain labor protections to underage models, these rights are rarely regulated or strictly enforced. Instead, designers who employ young models are left to “do the right thing” on a case-to-case basis, meaning that underage models are left with virtually no notable labor protections.

The new measure would require careful regulation of underage models by the Department of Labor. Furthermore, it would require employers to treat their young employees as child performers, ensuring that employers would face stricter rules for hiring underage models. Under the new legislation, employers would be required to obtain permits to employ models under the age of 18. The models themselves “would not be allowed to work past midnight on school nights… could only work eight hours a day during school hours for no more than two days in a row and only with school permission… [and] they would… have to have twelve hours of rest between workdays.” Employers who fail to adhere to these standards would be subject to investigation and fines by the Department of Labor.

The proposed bill aims to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of young models that are, in fact, still technically children. According to former model Sara Ziff, who began modeling at the age of 14, underage models are often pressured to forgo their education in favor of a modeling career. The new regulations outlined by the proposed bill would help to counteract this “tremendous pressure,” and ensure that underage models were given adequate workplace rights.

Ask New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo to support this important legislation and help to increase labor rights for underage models.


Dear Governor Andrew Cuomo,

New York is one of America’s most influential cities in terms of the fashion industry. Many runway models that are a part of this industry are younger than the legal age of 18, yet they are not provided with adequate workplace protection. Currently, these underage models are not strictly regulated and the flimsy protections offered by the Department of Education are not regularly enforced.

A recent proposal to treat underage models as child performers would help to ensure that these young workers are given the rights that they deserve. Under the new measure, underage models and their employers would be given stricter requirements in terms of how many hours underage models could work per day, as well as what hours of the day they could legally work.

These important regulations are geared towards ensuring that young models do not give up their education in favor of a modeling career, as well as towards protecting their overall wellbeing.

I strongly urge you to pass the New York Legislature’s proposed bill to ensure greater labor rights for underage models.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Unspecified via Wikimedia Commons

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