Minors labour is the issue that repeatedly comes back, especially during summer. How does the employment of adolescents compare to the law? Is it legal to give them work? We explain below.
Table of Contents
- Adolescents, i.e. minors in the labour market
- Rules for the employment of minors
- Special provisions for the employment of minors
- Employment contract for vocational training of a minor
- Employment of a minor for purposes other than vocational training
- Employment of minors and their holiday leave
- Further training
- Minors labour – summary
Adolescents, i.e. minors in the labour market
According to the Labour Code, an adolescent is between the age of 15 and 18. He can independently establish an employment relationship. Yet, if it threatens his well-being, his legal representative can terminate such an employment contract, with the approval of the court. Thus, an adolescent is a minor worker who is subject to special legal protection.
The lower age limit is to protect the health of minors. Moreover, such restriction ensures their compliance with compulsory education. It is prohibited to employ individuals below 15 years old. Violation of this prohibition does not deprive the person so employed of employment rights characteristic of a full-fledged employee, such as salary. However, it is an offence against the rights of an employee which is punishable by a fine.
Rules for the employment of minors
An agreement can be made with a minor only if:
- He or she has completed at least eight years of primary school.
- He or she provides a medical certificate stating that the specific type of work does not pose a threat to their health. This is an absolute requirement, from which there are no exceptions.
These conditions must be met jointly, even for light work. A minor without vocational qualifications can only be employed for vocational training purposes. This takes the form of an employment contract for vocational training. Alternatively, an agreement for vocational training with a craftsman.
Such preparation for a profession can take the form of:
- vocational training,
- training for a specific job
Preparation for a profession for people under 15 takes place exclusively in the form of vocational training and requires:
- Consent from the legal representative or guardian.
- A positive opinion from a psychological-pedagogical counselling centre.
The above restrictions do not apply to individuals who have not yet turned 15 but are employed in the calendar year during which they reach that age.
An individual below 15 years old, without primary education, can only be employed for training in a specific job and must have:
- Consent from the legal representative or guardian
- A positive opinion from a psychological-pedagogical counselling centre.
- Permission from the director of the eight-year primary school in their residential area to fulfil their educational obligation outside of school.
Special provisions for the employment of minors
The specifics of employing minors cover four areas:
- Initial, periodic, and control medical examinations
- The employer’s obligation to change the type of work or terminate the contract with the minor if the work poses a threat to his health. In such case, the employer shall provide compensation equivalent to the notice period.
2. Working and learning hours
- Up to 6 hours per day until the age of 16 and 8 hours per day after turning 16.
- Including learning time in working hours, regardless of whether it occurs during working hours.
- A 30-minute break included in the working time for a daily working time exceeding 4.5 hours.
3. Overtime work and night work
- Prohibition of employing minors during overtime hours and night hours, i.e. from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. And in the case of contracts concluded for vocational training from 8.00 PM to 6.00 AM.
- a break from work lasting continuously for at least 14 hours,
- at least 48 hours of uninterrupted rest each week including Sunday,
4. Prohibited type of work
- The list is specified in a separate legal act.
- There is a possibility of employing minors above 16 years old for certain types of prohibited work under certain conditions.
Employment contract for vocational training of a minor
The provisions on employment contracts for an indefinite period shall apply accordingly to concluding and terminating employment contracts with minors for the purpose of vocational training.
This contract specifies:
- the nature of the vocational training
- the duration and place of vocational training
- the methods of theoretical training
- the amount of remuneration
Termination of a contract of employment for vocational training with notice is only permitted in the following cases:
- failure by the minor to fulfil the obligations arising from the contract or the obligation to continue education, despite the use of educational measures against him,
- declaration of the employer’s bankruptcy or liquidation
- reorganisation of the establishment preventing the continuation of vocational training
- determining that an adolescent is not fit for the job for which the vocational training is conducted
Employment of a minor for purposes other than vocational training
A minor can be employed based on an employment contract for performing light work. Namely, a work that does not pose a threat to the life, health, and psychophysical development of the minor. Moreover, it cannot hinder fulfilling his educational obligation.
The list of light works is determined by the employer in regulations or a separate act. It must be approved by an occupational medicine physician and the relevant labour inspector. The employer must familiarize a minor with this document before allowing him to work.
The employer determines the duration and schedule of work, taking into account the minor’s school schedule. It must not exceed:
- 12 hours per week during the school year and 2 hours on a school day
- 7 hours per day and 35 hours per week during school holidays,
- 6 hours for minors up to 16 years old.
This applies also to the minor employed by multiple employers. The employer should receive a declaration from the minor regarding their employment with another entity. This should be submitted before concluding the contract.
Employment of minors and their holiday leave
The vacation leave for a minor is:
- 12 working days after 6 months from the first day of employment.
- 26 working days after one year.
In the calendar year when a minor turns 18, their vacation entitlement increases to 20 working days. This applies if he/she acquired the right to vacation leave before turning 18.
The employer is obliged to grant:
- vacation leave during school holidays to minors attending school. In certain situations, the vacation can be granted in advance.
- unpaid leave, not exceeding a total of 2 months together with the vacation leave, upon the request of a minor student who is employed, during school holidays. The period of unpaid leave is included in the period of employment that determines employee rights.
A minor has an obligation to pursue further education until the age of 18. Particularly in the scope of an eight-year primary school if they have not completed such a school yet. Therefore, the employer should grant them time off from work to attend classes.
If a minor has not completed vocational training before turning 18, it may be extended until the completion of vocational training in the manner specified in the Act.
Minors labour – summary
Providing job opportunities for minors has many benefits. However, it comes with specific responsibilities. Employers should remember about it to ensure safety and stability of the employment.
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