Child labor: What is legal, what is not
In Europe law allows child labor from 14, while setting specific rules. Until the worker has reached the age of 18, his professional activity is so strictly regulated, that it is conducted as part of a school curriculum, in the course of a contract or work.
Children Legal working under 18
Law allows the work of children from 14 to 18 years subject to certain limitations:
- Workday not exceeding 8 hours;
- Time step of actual work for more than 4 hours and a half without a break of 30 consecutive minutes;
- Minimum daily rest period of 12 consecutive hours, 14 hours for children under 16;
- Weekly working time less than 35 hours, or 40 hours under a derogation authorized by the labor inspectorate and after obtaining the assent of an occupational physician;
- Minimum weekly rest period of 2 consecutive days, with possible exemptions for more than 16;
- Prohibition to employ a young person of less than 18 years on longer than the duration weekly or daily routine of an adult employee on the same place of work.
Specific conditions for a 14 to 16
The labor law prohibits a child of gainful employment before age 16, which corresponds to the end of compulsory education. However, the Labor Inspectorate may authorize the employment of a 14 to 16 during school holidays:
- If the holidays last at least 14 days;
- If the employment contract allows the young to rest for at least half of the holiday;
- If the activity in question involves only light work without undue fatigue or dangerous, unhealthy or need excessive force.
To be in compliance with labor law, the employer of 14 to 16 years old must seek permission from a labor inspector at least 15 days before hiring. This authorization shall be granted if the labor inspector does not notify its disagreement within 8 days.
The request must include:
- The written agreement of the young legal representative;
- The nature and conditions of work;
- The contract period;
- Compensation and hours;
- Legislation on night work for young people under 18.
The labor law expressly prohibits night work for minors:
- For youth under 16 to 18 years of age: between 22 pm to 6 am;
- For youth under 16 years of age: between 20 pm to 6 am.