Protecting our youth in the workplace
South African law is very protective over children and there are specific measures that only apply to children in the workplace.
According to the National Youth Development Agency Act, anyone between the ages of 14 and 35 falls under the category of youth. However, employment law (such as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act) provides that a person under the age of 18 is a child. This means that a part of the South African youth is also considered to be children (between the ages of 14 and 18). South African law is very protective over children and there are specific measures that only apply to children in the workplace.
From what age can a person be employed?
> Anyone under the age of 15 years is not allowed to be employed.
> It is important for all employers to be aware of this age limit as it is a criminal offence to employ someone who is under the age of 15 years and may even lead to the closure of his/her business.
> The only exception to this age limit is that anyone under the age of 15 years can be employed in the performance of advertising, artistic and cultural Activities, for example, children starring in television series or advertisements. However, there are strict regulations governing these instances.
Are there restrictions on the type of work a child can do?
> If anyone in this younger group of the youth is employed, the law is clear that the work they are being employed for must not be inappropriate for a person of that age, for example, a child waiter is not allowed to serve alcohol.
> A child is also not allowed to do any work that will place his/her wellbeing, education, physical or mental health, or social development at risk.
> If a child's employment required the use of power tools, such a drills, the child's employer must conduct a risk assessment, ensure that the child is properly trained to use the power tools and only uses it under the supervision of a competent person.
> A child is also not allowed to work in underground mining, in casinos, as petrol attendants, with the processing of meat and so on.
Are there any limits on a child's working hours?
> A child is not allowed to work more than 40 hours per week. However, if the child is still attending school, s/he is not allowed to work more than 2 hours per day (after school) or 4 hours per day on Fridays or last days of school term.
> As a general rule, a child is not allowed to work before 6am and after 6pm on any day. However, if the child is working at a cinema, restaurant or as a babysitter, s/he is not allowed to work later than 11pm.
Did you know…Part of the youth group is still considered to be children to which stricter workplace laws will apply.