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close this bookAction Against Child Labour (ILO; 2000; 356 pages)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contents1. National policies and programmes
close this folder2. Towards improved legislation
View the documentINTRODUCTION
View the document2.1 LEGISLATION AND THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILD LABOUR
View the document2.2 SOURCES OF LAW ON CHILD LABOUR
close this folder2.3 INTERNATIONAL LABOUR STANDARDS AND NATIONAL LEGISLATION
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentNational policy
View the documentCoverage of the law (scope of application)
View the documentGeneral minimum age for admission to employment or work
View the documentMinimum age for light work
View the documentMinimum age for hazardous work
View the documentConditions of employment
View the documentForced labour
View the documentEnforcement
View the document2.4 NEW INTERNATIONAL LABOUR STANDARDS ON THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOUR
View the document2.5 OTHER INTERNATIONAL TREATIES
View the document2.6 INITIATIVES TO IMPROVE CHILD LABOUR LEGISLATION
View the document2.7 LESSONS LEARNED
View the documentChecklist 2.1 General principles
View the documentChecklist 2.2 Improving national legislation
View the documentChecklist 2.3 Legislation on bonded labour
View the documentChecklist 2.4 Involving employers' and workers' organizations, and others
View the documentAppendix 2.1 ILO Conventions on child labour and forced labour (as at 31 July 1999)
View the documentAppendix 2.2 Minimum ages in ILO Conventions
View the documentAppendix 2.3 Ratification of ILO Conventions on child labour and forced labour (as at 31 August 1999)
View the documentAppendix 2.4 Chart of ratifications of ILO Conventions on child labour and forced labour by country (as at 31 August 1999:
View the documentAppendix 2.5 Excerpts from selected ILO standards on child labour
Open this folder and view contents3. Improving the knowledge base on child labour
Open this folder and view contents4. Alternatives to child labour
Open this folder and view contents5. Strategies to address child slavery
Open this folder and view contents6. Strategies for employers and their organizations
Open this folder and view contents7. Trade unions against child labour
Open this folder and view contents8. Awareness-raising
Open this folder and view contents9. Action by community groups and NGOs
Open this folder and view contents10. Resources on child labour
View the documentOther ILO publications
View the documentBack Cover
 

Minimum age for light work

Convention No. 138 and Recommendation No. 146

National laws or regulations may permit the employment of young persons on light work from the age of 13 to 15. Light work may be provided for those who are 15 years or older and have not yet finished their compulsory education. The competent authority must determine the activities that will be allowed as light work, as well as the hours and conditions of such work. The age for light work can be set at 12 by countries who have set 14 as the general minimum age because their economy or educational facilities are insufficiently developed (for as long as the situation lasts).

Light work is work which is "not likely to be harmful to the health or development of young persons and not such as to prejudice their attendance at school, their participation in vocational orientation or training programmes approved by the competent authority or their capacity to benefit from the instruction received" (Article 7).

The legislation of some countries contains more precise definitions of light work. It might include:

• simple and well-defined tasks;
• lack of physical or mental effort that could endanger the child's health or development;
• limited number of daily and weekly hours;
• regular breaks and weekly rest of at least 48 hours;
• no night work; and
• permission to work only in a family undertaking or under parental supervision.

Link to school attendance

The importance of safeguarding a child's attendance at school and the ability of the child to benefit from education is underlined. While the method for doing so is left up to the ratifying State, prohibiting work during school hours should be a minimum prerequisite for accomplishing this. In addition, limiting hours outside school hours during term time appears equally important in order to limit fatigue and allow time for study and recreation.

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